“This Deer Half Mask is more than a prop, it's a character, a living thing that sometimes appears in my dreams and nightmares.”
These words, written by 34-year-old Brazilian visual artist Adi Korndörfer, carry the weight of experience… the experience of loss, self-exploration and ultimately hope. Adi experienced the loss of her grandparents, mother and father in a very short amount of time, leaving her to deal with her demons and the vividly real nightmare of losing all her paternal figures, almost all at once and early in life.
“I was working as a portrait photographer for four years when, in the end of 2013, my father died. Suddenly, all my anxiety and panic began to interfere with my daily life. I began to use fine art compositions to relieve the pain, but I became more and more depressed, until I spent almost the entire year of 2015 without leaving my bed.”
While many would (understandably) collapse under the weight of this kind of successive trauma, Adi made the decision to purge her painful experience by delving deep into her own psyche and facing all her demons head-on. She committed herself to her journey, (no matter how deep and dark it might have descended) by composing a unique portrait every day during the leap year of 2016. For 366 days, manifestations of her emotional state emerged in a journalistic, artistic odyssey that portrays the unflinching human (and inhuman) condition of grieving in both the visceral and ethereal realms of her conscience.
“The process gave voice to dark nightmares, it was a way to face the most intimate fears and stimulate old anxieties to come out of the chest. For a year, I created a life in self-portraits that represented the build of who I am, myself exposed in images of flesh, bone and soul.”
At the point of no return in this incredible soul-searching journey, Adi had grown very weary from the constant reflection and energy it took to produce artistic works of this depth on a daily basis. Forging on would have been an incredible feat in the best of times, for any artist, but luckily, a friend showed Adi our Masks… one, in particular, infused with her vision and helped her go on with her search...
“I immediately got crazy about it and used the Deer Mask (painted in red) to represent a sequence of my deepest demons.”
This was the climactic descent into the darkest realms of the 366 self-portraits. There is strength and beauty to behold here and these images resonate and penetrate in their magnetic depiction of the painful immersion Adi faced. Luckily, in rare instances, pain is the vehicle of birth and through Adi’s pain, she was reborn.
“After this 366 self-portraits, felling so much better, beautiful dreams overflowed my work once more. One day, at the beginning of this year, I was missing my Mom... Instead being sad, I started to imagine adventures that she was on in a parallel world, the surreal life in my imaginary heaven, and again the Deer Mask appears to my thoughts and this time a golden one. The Golden Deer represent this amazing, beautiful and powerful person who was my Mom, who led me to the arts world and forged who I am today. This new journey is just the beginning and I'm very hopeful for everything that will come…”
We are very grateful and hopeful for Adi’s new journey as well and we are humbled to have been a part of her journey. For more of her incredible work, see the links below: