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My grandmother´s shoes / my mother´s shoes

What’s left of life

We humans hold on to things so that our memories don’t fade. We hold on to artefacts that represent fragments of a path and on to objects whose value is defined by the context we borrow them from. These shoes are a memory of my mother and my grandmother, and at the same time they are a lifeless symbol of the loss of these two women who are so important to me.

“I wanted to slip into these shoes, to wear them, to go out into nature, to let them inspire me with a scene.”

Maria Haas

After my grandmother’s death I went to her house, a place I used to go to very often when I was a child. It was a strange feeling, walking through the empty rooms with their creaky wooden floors where this enterprising woman was so clearly missing. I looked around, opened boxes and chests of drawers, apparently looking for something I myself couldn’t quite identify. In a cupboard I found a variety of shoes. I was surprised by the amount and knew immediately that I wanted to photograph them. That they would help me to reflect on my grandmother’s life and remind me of her personality.

These shoes stood in my studio for a few years. I photographed, grouped and portrayed them as if they had their own personality. Years later I felt the need to wear them, to slip into my grandmother’s shoes, take them out and present them in nature.

Sixteen years later, in 2014,

my mother died, a special woman with a big heart and a strong will. I missed her immensely, both as a person and as an inspiration for my own life. I remembered the series with my grandmother’s shoes, and again I wanted to immerse myself in that house where life had disappeared and which consisted only of objects. Besides shoes, this time I also took clothes with me, not with the intention of wearing them, but to have them around me. But again it was the shoes that most fascinated me. In many ways I recognized my mother’s style, but it was these red patent shoes with their high heels and the eye-catching stitch, which for me didn‘t represent my mother at all, that fascinated me the most. It was as if they wanted to tell something about my mother that was foreign to me.

I put them on and went outside, the high heels piercing the soft ground. I wanted to bury my feet and these shoes in the ground, Mother Earth and the life that springs from her and show these shoes that don‘t fit into this environment at all.

maria haas - projects - My grandmother´s shoes / my mother´s shoes