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Official website for artist Nicole Rademacher
Nicole Rademacher, Rademacher artist, Los Angeles, Chile, Barcelona, interdisciplinary, research-based, contemporary artist, conceptual artist, adoptee, adoptee voices, social practice artist, public practice artist, art therapy
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There are more than 5 stages of Grief, a project by artist and adoptee Nicole Rademacher

There are more than 5 stages of Grief

grief (/ɡrēf/) noun: the acute pain that accompanies loss.


According to psychiatrist and visionary Elizabeth Kubler-Ross there are 5 stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance) –– she coined these in her influential book On Death and Dying, published in 1969. Kubler-Ross developed these stages to describe the process patients go through as they come to terms with their terminal illnesses, but now these terms are what people often think of when they lose a loved one.


What happens when you lose a loved one when you are too young to talk, or too young to remember? In his seminal book The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma, Bessel van der Kolk explores and explains the inextricable dialogue between the physical body and the psycho-emotional interior landscape. It is in combining these two ideas: of how to experience loss and how our body holds telltale signs of our experiences of loss and trauma that I explored how the ambiguous loss of being separated from your biological family (as an infant, as a small child) becomes disenfranchised grief. I suggest that for adopted people There are more than 5 stages of Grief, and, like the stages developed by Kubler-Ross, adopted people experience these stages many times over and in an order unique to each person and unique to each time they are experienced.


Sadly, our society does not recognize the relinquishment of a child as a loss for the adoptee, but rather as a gain: the adoptee gains a family and the adoptive parents gain a child. Our ambiguous loss––a loss that occurs without closure or clear understanding––is real, and we, the adoptees, have been gaslit by a society that tells us we are ungrateful if we feel anything but love and appreciation around our adoption, because we were “saved.”


When people––children, adolescents, adults––are not allowed to grieve, blocked by an adult or a friend or a teacher or … society, the grief may embody the mind and body as feeling empty, “acting out,” withdrawing, uncontrollable crying, anxiety, an unreasonable reaction to a reasonable request, etc.


There are more than 5 stages of Grief explores my own disenfranchised grief.

Gate Pass, a project by artist Nicole Rademacher

Gate Pass

Gate Pass explores correlations between private and public gestures of familial protection as interpreted through the fixture of home gates. I examined ideas of privacy and protection through interviews and observations of the people who lived behind or passed through the gates in the Central Province of Kenya while on a 3-month residency; my research revealed a shared need for security and the lengths we go to achieve a sense of safety and stability. Gate Pass documents these impeding physical boundaries through photography and video, exploring the daily occurrences both inside and outside the gates, while revealing connections of intimacy and formality, alienation and belonging, security and vulnerability.


Installed at Los Angeles International Airport for 6 months in 2017, Gate Pass sought to create a dialogue with air travelers about security measures, a collective component of the air travel experience, encouraging reflection on issues of trust and protection.


The project was made possible through a residency with Maji Mazuri Centre in Nairobi, Kenya and received funding from many individual donors, North Carolina Arts Council, and the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs.


All photos by Panic Studio LA