Richard Lewer 2021 Richard’s Disasters, a true story
A friend once told me I dine out on other people’s misery.
They were referring to some of the more unusual or extreme interviews and immersive research I’ve undertaken when starting a new body of work.
I have told the stories of others through my investigations into difficult subjects, such as true crime, religion, euthanasia, violent national histories, personal trauma, and loss.
For this series, however, I’ve turned the mirror towards myself. ‘Richard’s Disasters’ is an autobiographical body of work that recalls some of my most personal experiences.
I have always used storytelling in my work to reach out to or connect people, observing and mirroring the human condition. I play with the idea of what is considered private, and put that into public space. I’ve done this in previous works – Confessions in 2009 and My Last Will and Testament 2010 – but ‘Richard’s Disasters’ takes this up another notch.
Everyone has milestones, tragedy, or significant events that have shaped them. Here, I’m using myself as a tool to shine a light onto a few of these stories.
I have had so many experiences – some of them my first memories, some deeply personal and private – that are unfortunate, embarrassing, humorous, absurd, tragic, frightening, unbelievable, or plain odd. Traumatic events like these often get buried out of sight, but I think it’s important to let down your guard, to be exposed, to be vulnerable. Sharing them in the work often means that people reach out to me, as they have had similar experiences. We so very rarely get to see each other’s vulnerabilities, but we all have burdens that we carry.