Erik Kessels, Unfinished Father
Last year, my father suffered a stroke and has since been barely able to speak or move. Prior to this, he was extremely active. His projects included restoring examples of that Italian icon: the Fiat 500 (or “Topolino”.) Before his stroke, he’d completed four such restorations and was working on a fifth, the half-finished carapace of which remains at his home.
My plan is to transport this last Topolino to Reggio Emilia and show it alongside the images my father made to document his restoration. For me, this work is about a man who — like his vehicle — will never be complete,
but remain unfinished. While films and stories teach us that endings are neat (and often happy), the truth is that everything ends abruptly, more or less half-done. No matter how carefully we plan and how precisely we execute those plans, there is no guarantee that they will reach our hoped for conclusion.
Similarly, the unfinished Topolino is the reverse of my father’s situation in life: he was a man who didn’t like to leave things undone, who saw them to their end. We can attempt to control our circumstances, but in the end they control us.