My mother always used to say

○ Portrait in text and image
○ Book, 2017
○ Exhibition, 2017
○ Publication NRC Handelsblad

My mother always used to say is a portrait of Remco Outhuijsen, a man who since he goes through life with high thoracic paraplegia has seen his world progressively shrink. As a result of their meetings and intense conversations, Sistermans initially started to write. At a later stage, she also began to photograph. The final portrait that she made of Remco has been gathered into a small book comprising three still lifes and three stories. While Remco’s life is described frankly and directly in the text, the photos are indirect representations. They show the accessories that have become part of his everyday reality. Photographed against a sober white background, they express, in all their abstraction, a great deal about Remco’s life.

The project was realised within the framework of Tackling Loneliness and is a subdivision of Here is where I exist/Artists portray loneliness. In this project, five artists each linked up with with a lonely person in Amsterdam for three months. The works were displayed at the art centre Stichting Artless.

Small text excerpt:

‘To begin with, you live in a gigantic rush – I thought: I’m simply going to be able to walk again. Then I’d wiggle my toes and say: ‘See, See!’. Or I I moved my finger half a centimetre, I’d shout: ‘Look, I can move my finger again,’ but they were just spasms. I was also angry with myself, everything and everybody. Then nurses came into the room and I’d ask them: ‘What are you here for!’ ‘We’ve come to wash you’ and I’d shout: ‘I don’t think so!’ You’ve got paraplegia, but you’ve also suddenly lost all your privacy.’

‘It took months, a year, before it got through to me and I realised: this isn’t evern going to get any better. After that, it took another couple of years or so before I got over that realisation. Fortunately, I’ve always fancied life – you just have to remain positive, otherwise you won’t make it.’