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Brutal with Love, 2023, collaborative book with Lisa W Carlson, photographer of book: Wolfram Hahn, photographer of Lisa and Kirstin in the book: Birgit Kaulfuß

Book published at Vexer: https://vexer.ch/en/products/brutal-with-love

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What do you need to meet a loved one in full honesty? What is the place for the radical act of opening up? And how do we voice and feel togetherness, in the face of the final act of the body – dying?

Brutal with Love is the first collaborative book by Kirstin Burckhardt and Lisa W Carlson and it resembles a performance in 3 acts: opening with a conversation in 12 chapters (on SECRETS, FORGIVING, VOICE, etc.) and photographs from their performative practice, Burckhardt and Carlson reflect on their way of encountering each other: through in-between feelings, questions, and their embodied friendship. The second part explores the X-rays of lungs from their research at the archive of the Österåsen Sanatorium in Sweden. These raw 100-year-old images are combined with “breathe” poetic stanzas based on the thin line between life and death and find fine resonance in a text by Gabriele Brandstetter. From images through flesh to images of touching: the third part invites the viewer to become a page-turner and flip through stop-motion-images from Burckhardt’s performative video-homage which investigates her relationship with the Large Autopsy Hall at the Museum of Medical History Hamburg, ending with a text by the Museum’s director Phillip Osten. Framed in a B-format book, the papers and finishing elevate this otherwise standard pocketbook to something palpable.

Brutal with Love! A title to shock? Stir up? Is Brutal with Love a paradox? Or radically honest? The meeting and dialogue between the two artists Kirstin Burckhardt and Lisa W Carlson is designed to be so open that it excludes nothing: They move in a space – inspired by the Large Autopsy Hall of the Museum of Medical History in Hamburg – a place that has stored the fine line between life and death. (Gabriele Brandstetter)


Brutal with Love is part of the project touching fine lines. Kindly supported by the Ministry for Culture and Media Hamburg, Hamburgische Kulturstiftung, Rudolf Augstein Stiftung, and IASPIS.

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Format: Publication; 261 page, B-Format, 19.8 × 12.9 cm, Softcover with dust cover, tread stitching

Texts: Gabriele Brandstetter and Phillip Osten

Photographs of Kirstin and Lisa by Birgit Kaulfuß, Video Stills by Kirstin Burckhardt, Cinematography in Autopsy Hall by Max Hilsamer

Design: Tor Westerlund

ISBN: 978-3-907112-70-0