The most beautiful memory. Recollecting my father.

Anne Ackermann

2020 - Ongoing

When I was a child my father told me that there was a treasure hidden by dwarfs somewhere in our home, an old country estate that had during his childhood and youth harboured a cinema named The Unicorn, a ballroom, a tavern, a farm and a family.  The world he showed me was magic, limitless and full of adventures. Objects could be magic and I knew that if I just believed it hard enough I could fly.

I was 8 years old when my father died after a long illness. Since then I have always wanted to reconnect with him.

This work is about my recollecting of memories. In some ways it is an ode to my father and to my own childhood. It speaks of grief and of Nature’s undeniable beauty and strength held deep within us.

My father, an engineer and passionate gardener, also liked to photograph in his spare time. He enjoyed documenting his family. An avid traveler he captured scenes from the countries he visited. Discovering boxes of his diapositives many years later inspired me to use them, together with my own images, to narrate the story of my childhood memories and to honour the lasting bond that I share with my father.


For ’The most beautiful memory. Recollecting my father` I collaborated with story editor Régina Monfort.

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  • The nature we grow up in is our earliest world after the emotional world of our mothers, these places we know by heart before we know anything else.

  • Scans of diapositives of my mother and father from my dad's archive, ca. 1978

  • Diptych of my closed eye and a wooden boat hand made by my father. 2020

  • The broken necklace. 2020.

  • The Western Mountains. An image from my dad's archive taken during a trip through the USA, ca. 1974.

  • Portrait of my grandfather, owner of the cinema 'The Unicorn' with film rolls and film projector. Date and origin unknown.

  • An image from my dad's archive taken during a trip through the USA, ca. 1974.

  • An image from my dad's archive taken during a trip through Egypt, ca. 1973.

  • An image from my dad's archive taken during a trip through Egypt, ca. 1973.

  • A picture of me and my father taken during our family holiday in The Netherlands, 1988.

  • An image of our rented holiday home in The Netherlands from my dad's archive taken during our last family holiday, 1988:
    'Before our summer holidays in The Netherlands in the summer of ‘88 Dad was released from the hospital as ‘cured’. He was acting strangely, wanting to sleep in a room alone, and was moody. His throat was still hurting.'

  • “Sick, weather-wise fresh, sunny and rainy. Runner bean laid.”
    -my father’s diary entry, summer 1988”

  • Diptych of my a photo of my parents hugging from an unknown source and a picture taken by me of my mother's folded hands: 'The day after my Papa died at home and two days before my 9th birthday, my siblings and I wrote goodbye messages and placed them between his folded hands. In that moment it became clear to me that I would never read those words again, nor would I see or speak to my father again.'

  • An image from my dad's archive taken of the nearer surroundings of our village, ca. 1976.

  • Diptych of a portrait of my mother and a broken tree in the garden of my parental home. 2020.

  • Diptych of a picture of a forest that decorated my father's room in his youth and my mother's eye. 2020.

  • Diptych of an image of a flower from my dad's archive and my mom in her garden.2020.

  • Portrait of my son Luis with a river shell. 2020.

  • Childhood Ensemble. 2020

  • Portrait of my father at the river taken by his best friend, ca. 1960. I wanted to ask my mother:“What is your most beautiful memory of him?”