I was invited by my dear friend, professor and colleague Tuija Lindström to make an exhibition together. We talked for almost a year on the phone and a couple of times in her kitchen, drinking wine and smoking until the wee hours of the morning watching the sky change its spectrum of colors over Kista where she lived in the outskirts of Stockholm. She was always telling me that since she met me back in 1998 she saw herself in me. I can´t see the future but I did see a soul mate in her as well as a mother figure. So we smoked and talked and weaved our works together. She put our pictures of mountains together in her computer and said “that´s just about right”. Everything else just came together organically, without us thinking.
A week previous to the opening I had to put up the show by myself and I was so nervous, I never had the responsibility of hanging someone else’s work before! But she was at the hospital and wrote to me ” you have to. I trust you”. I guess I could not accept that she was sick so she sent me picture of her… I felt so stupid. But still I thought it could not be so bad. She was the strongest and toughest survivor I knew. It was a hard week.
I assisted her back in 2009 (I might be getting the year wrong but around that time) while she was doing a piece where she burned a piano as Magnus Johansson improvised a tune on it (until the very end). I helped recording the sound, documenting with photography and swept up the ashes of that old piano on Harvest Day in Öland where she lived back then.
I have a musical project called Pentapolar Birds where I sing and play the piano. She wanted to put the sound of her piece inside the piano and have me perform as Pentapolar Birds at the opening while the sound of that burning piano was with me. I sang about the importance of dreaming and of how plants grow from inside the Earth and the stars with ancient knowledge. She promised she would come to the opening. But she got worse that very same day and never saw the show at all.
I wish I´d recorded those late night conversations cause when I saw everything ready I didn´t know how it happened: it wasn’t only the mountains: there were the plants, the nests, the piano: everything intertwined so perfectly. Organically. Like friendship, relationships, love and all of history.
Directly after the opening, I went to see her with a small group of close relatives and I hugged her for a long time. A couple of days later I took a flight to Peru to photograph more plants inspired by the work we did together. A couple of weeks later, two days after Christmas, the news of her stepping through to further adventures amongst the stars reached me. I´m sure she is an excellent astronaut but I will miss her until I get there myself.