Clothing, bottles, appliances – relatable objects that serve as the basic accessories of daily life, schematically arranged to form a visual inventory of one man’s possessions. The Inheritance project is an exploration into ideas of legacy, identity, and impermanence, of what we leave behind and how that defines us. At the same time, it is a deeply personal documentation of the artist’s mourning process following the passing of her grandfather. By rearranging the objects that filled his home into pictorial compositions to assert her own presence as an artist, Tese authors a chronicle of a life as expressed by simple objects, ranging from those unique to the individual subject, such as a collection of paperweights or newspaper clippings including those about Tese herself as a child, to pedestrian items such as shoes or pots and pans.
Despite the potential sentimentality of the project for the artist and her audience, Tese’s photographs are abstracted by her deadpan treatment of the subject matter, organizing the items into grids, piles and sometimes playful arrangements that allow the objects to be assessed individually as well as en masse by the audience. When viewed together, the images form a posthumous portrait of the deceased that allows the viewer to “know” Tese’s grandfather, just as her categorization and presentation of his belongings speak to the artist’s practice and style. These photographs function simultaneously as an acknowledgement to the ephemeral nature of life and as an indulgence in man’s unwillingness to give in to this understanding – his desire to arrest time, to counter anonymity, to leave something behind, to be immortal.