Erik Larsson’s ‘As You Fade’ is a series of cardboard gravestones set up in a field. Over time, Larsson photographed them as they withered under the natural conditions in which they were situated. The work is concerned with the concept of permanence and with the place it holds in our collective consciousness . . .
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Grave stones give us a sense that we’re marking this person’s life in perpetuity, thereby establishing for them a permanent home in this world, a place for us to collect memories of them and a way to absolve ourselves of the guilt we feel about any crimes, emotional or otherwise, we committed against them during their lifetimes. Like almost all ritual surrounding death, then, these markers are created as much for the benefit of the living as for the dead themselves. Here, though, the inherent impermanence of the lives of the stones themselves is highlighted. By replacing stone with cardboard, Larsson forces the viewer to come to terms with the impossiblity of establishing permanence and perhaps asks us to reconsider the way in which we cope with our own mortality. The viewer’s participation is implied in the title, which addresses us directly, and in the different angles from which the photographs of the installation are taken, representing the unique, unspecified perspective of each viewer. In several of the photos, the viewer’s line of sight in interrupted, either by natural light breaking into the scene, or by vegetation. Here, too, Larsson points out the ways in which we’re often unable to look directly upon the finality of death, and prefer to view it partially obscured. For more of Larsson’s work, visit his site here.