The four tasks of mourning

12 January 2018

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Grief is deeply subjective but the processes of healing apply to us all, says Marijke Loosjes. It’s this concept that informs her new work DROWNING, the WA-based interdisciplinary artist tells Seesaw.

Marijke Loosjes. Photo: Aaron McPolin.

Seesaw: When did you first know that you wanted to be an artist?

Marijke Loosjes: I was always a really creative child, drawing all the time and glued to my 35mm camera. I think I knew in Year 11 and 12 when I was doing both non-TEE and TEE art. It was another language for me that came so organically, I knew I needed to keep pursuing this passion that gave me so much happiness.

S: Where did you train?
ML: I studied at Curtin and completed my Bachelor of Fine Arts (three years).

Seesaw: Describe your artistic practice…
ML: I am an interdisciplinary artist who works in the mediums of sculpture, photography and performance. My work engages with themes of abjection, ephemerality and delving into the inner workings of one’s mental state. I explore the line in which abjection and beauty can be blurred with an honesty that is compelling yet provoking in the same moment.

S: Career highlight so far? 

ML: In 2017 I curated an exhibition called “The Rituals at the Ferguson Foundry”. It showcased five multi-disciplinary performance artists who presented a live performance art piece and a body of work exploring personal rituals. I also exhibited and performed, which was basis of my show DROWNING. The response I had was really overwhelming, made me realise I am on the right path heading in a good direction at the moment.

S: Now you’re going to present DROWNING at Fringe World… tell us more!
ML: DROWNING is a one person, live performance art show that explores the various stages of grief and the steps taken in attempt to heal. There are four conceptual performances within the show, each looking at a stage of grief and referencing Worden’s four tasks of mourning; accepting the reality of loss, working through the pain of grief, adjusting to an environment in which you have experienced loss and focusing on the connection with the deceased whilst reinvesting yourself in life. The performances give special light to the state of one’s mind amidst grieving.

The performances give special light to the state of one’s mind amidst grieving.

Visual artwork and sculptural pieces will be used within the performances that are influenced by various mourning practices of the Victorian Era; their ornate momento mori pieces, colour symbolism and mourning attire.

DROWNING is an intimate and beautifully cathartic experience. It allows the audience to find their own interpretation and meaning in the performances. Grief is experienced so deeply and subjectively, but these healing processes generally apply to us all, the feelings and emotions are the same and we are not alone when we going through this.

S: What do you love most about what you do?

ML: The freedom that comes with being an artist, the connection you make with people, how cathartic it is… it’s really what I live and breathe for.

S: What is your favourite playground equipment?
ML: Anything I can climb and swing off!

‘DROWNING’ plays at Paper Mountain, 20-22 February, as part of Fringe World.

Top: Marijke Loosjes in performance. Photo: Jessica Eva.

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