What dies next to me

What dies next to me
2022 - 2023

From the time when deaths were daily accidents caused by cholera and scarlet fever, and life expectancy was a quarter of what it is today, Mourning Jewelry emerged as an ongoing operation to overcome the loss of a loved one.

In What dies next to me, the artist revisits this historic loss in a series of portrait-elegies woven in hair and sealed in silver and gold. The materials raise the following question: How do we survive loss if we are not armed to protect ourselves from the future? Unlike her other works that use hair as a material, these objects are interpreted as tools to survive, overcome, remember, and evince pain.

The pieces enter the realm of auto-fiction, as they simulate and suggest the death of the living by storing their genetic material inside a brooch - quoting a missing object. The feeling of viewing these objects triggers the contemporary gesture of seeing a missing person on a milk carton, the fear of seeing your own portrait there in black and white, or the nightmare of a hair clump disturbing the hygiene of a crime scene.

The performative dimension lies in the fact that these people will eventually die, so the work acts as a declaration of promise; "we all die in the end, but it is the daily deaths that I want to keep, the deaths that no one mourns." Walker undermines the mortuary operation of elegy by performing it in the present, and in most cases, the person is still alive. There is violence, love, and pain in this operation of portraying and sewing a body part - murdered - by the artist. It creates a territory for assumptions about who the person in question is and what they have done to deserve their elegy and constant remembrance.

Thus, in these portraits, she weaves a triple equation: hair as a unifying element and proof of death, the person in question, and the cause of death. This last element remains as the unknown part of the equation, through which the possibilities of mourning are speculated.

In contrast to the grand masculine epics of hero's journeys and wars, this series of brooches narrates a close-up of minor daily episodes of disappearances and escapes, personal and external. These brooches can be read following a free order, bearing the weight of reading an elegy of something that, although not necessarily dead, is mourned and open to the public as an attempt to heal a wound in amber, to overcome this kind of pain.

- Prologue of my death at 4.
- Portrait of a daughter watching her mother die.
- Portrait of a writer who kills himself in his books.
- Loss of a finger
- Body with an organ removed
- Selfie of a dead friendship
- Death of a right eye (x 2)
- Portrait of my grandmother who wants to die
- Portrait of the son I never had
- December 1995: disappearance of the woman who raised me.
- Portrait of the man I sleep with and disappears.
- Portrait of the man I sleep with and disappears II
- Portrait of the man I sleep with and disappears III
- Portrait of my first miscarriage
- Portrait of my second miscarriage
- Portrait of the mother who goes crazy and comes back.
- Portrait of a woman who forgets syntax.
- Death of a sister - without metaphor
- Portrait of the woman who heard bombs
- Portrait of a woman who loses her hair and does not die.
- Prologue of another death at 7 years old.
- Prologue to another death at 12.
- Prologue to another death at 10
- Prologue to another death at 15.
- Portrait of the missing lover of an environmental journalist.
- Portrait of a child who tells me he is being bullied.
- Portrait of my niece whom I don't see growing up.
- Portrait of the constant pain of a body made out of hair.
- Portrait of the grandchild I will never have
- Epilogue: They die beside me


Nicolás Lange  / dramaturge - writer - art curated

translation of Bruce Gibbons


shibuichi / steel / 18 carat gold / silver / paper embroidered with hair


Simon Contreras / Lucy Plato Clark