1973

<i>Blown-Out Candles (graphite)</i>

Hanna Liden, Blown-Out Candles (graphite), 2010; pigment inks on canvas (click to enlarge)

 

 

  1. On Saint Patrick’s Day, at Travis Air Force Base in California, an aircraft nicknamed the Hanoi Taxi lands with twenty POWs aboard.  There are more than four-hundred family members there to greet them, and journalists ready to capture the moment.  Slava Veder snaps the shot (at the bottom of this post) that brings this reunion home in a single image.  In the far left, Lt. Col. Robert Stirm has his back to the camera; his back to the war you could say.  In front of him, his fifteen-year-old daughter, Lorrie, rushes towards him with open arms, the rest of his family close behind.  Lorrie was nine when she last saw her Dad, who spent the last five years in an interment camp.  The photo will become a symbol of America’s desire to finally heal, and win a Pulitzer Prize.  As a symbol, it is deftly accurate, largely because the joy depicted in it, as the photo’s title A Burst of Joy suggests, is momentary.  The war continues, in Vietnam and at home.  Stirm’s wife, Loretta, had fallen out of love with her husband even before he was released.  Soon after this reunion, they part ways and she will remarry in ’74.  Every member of the family is given a copy of the award-winning photo, and they will each display it proudly, with the exception of the man whose back is to the photographer.  For all that the photo symbolizes to him, he cannot bear to look at it.

  2. Some of my cloud dreams incorporated a sudden decent.  Sometimes I was still in the plane, plummeting like a rock back to earth, and other times I was simply free falling through a glowing fog, my body drifting like a feather.  The voices of the women I grew up with were there planning revolutions in the mist.

  3. In an interview by Nate Lowman, Hanna Liden will talk about her shifts from Stockholm to London and from London to New York, “I felt paralyzed by the cynical London mentality.  During the day, I just watched movies I rented from the video store on Camden High Street, and at night I went to clubs and did Ecstasy.  No future in that.  So I moved to New York in 1998.  I remember being culturally shocked by American optimism.  Now I don’t notice it anymore.”

 

<i>Swamp Walkers</i>

Hanna Liden, Swamp Walkers, 2004

 

 

<i>Death Upon a Black Horse</i>

Blown-Out Candles (Black)

Hanna Liden, Blown-Out Candles (Black), 2010; pigment inks on canvas (click to enlarge)

 

Blown-Out Candles (Blood)

Hanna Liden, Blown-Out Candles (Blood), 2010; pigment inks on canvas (click to enlarge)

 

Burst of Joy

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