After André Penteado’s father suicide in 2007, the artist attended for around a year, the meetings of a support group for people who were grieving because of the suicide of a loved one. Listening to the participants share their experiences helped him put into perspective what had happened.
After shooting the Dad’s Suicide project, in which he had expressed his immediate response to his father’s death, he decided to further explore the long-term grief caused by suicide. He then invited some of the people he had met in the group to work with him creating the project I am Not Alone. This project is composed of three photography series and one two-channel video.
The first photography series is called Us and comprehends a group of straightforward head-shots of all the sitters facing the camera. It aims to discuss the taboo and shame around suicide.
The second series was called Emptiness and intends to present the void that a sudden death leaves in one’s life. The images in this series were created this way: first the participants were asked to stand somewhere in their living room for a portrait. After the portrait was taken, they were asked to leave the frame and a shot of the empty background of the scene was taken.
The third series is called Memories. In the creation of this series the participants were asked to show the artist the place where they kept the most emotionally important object they still had that had belonged to the person who had committed suicide – the one that connected them to the memory of the deceased. A photograph was then taken showing this place but not necessarily the object, as it was sometimes hidden inside a drawer or a box.
For the creation of the two-channel video work How Do You Feel? all the sitters answered the title question. From each of them just one take was shot – showing their hands only, for the entire time – and the whole of their answers was included in the final editing of the video. As it is supposed to happen in the support group meetings, the participants were allowed to say everything they had to say without any cuts. After recording the answers, André filmed faucets from their homes.