Reported Missing

Ida Rödén: Reported Missing

In Reported Missing, Ida Rödén invites the viewer to visit a parallel world filled with people who are truly lost. Characters gone missing from the world, specifically extracted from an archive of people reported missing, has become fragmented and dissolved. In a process of layered composites they have pushed through into possible realms and formed new identities. The observer gets to participate in the extraordinary and paradoxical event where characters briefly reunite to prove that they are no longer lost. The fragments of what once disappeared have been pieced together and a new world has opened up.

Reported Missing - wall of missing posters

The installation is built around three components. Covering an entire wall are posters of people that have been reported missing. Candles are lit underneath. The only clue to its fabricated nature is the distorted faces of the posters and the fact that there are no contact numbers. Just as the faces are built out of fragments of people reported missing, so are the textual descriptions extracted from existing missing person reports: even though Lucy Allen might not have been abducted outside her school—telling her friends that she was going to the shopping mall with her ‘uncle’ before entering a white van—someone else was.

Reported Missing - wall of missing posters Reported Missing - wall of missing posters
Reported Missing - gallery director and artist Reported Missing - wall of missing posters

The exhibition continues inside with a series of seven reunions where the people on the missing person posters appear once again. The format of a reunion becomes a setting where new identities, memories, and a sense of belonging are supported. There is a subtle humor in their representation, which stands in contrast to its serious content matter; these people are missing from the world and someone is out there looking for them. The photographs effectively go from being funny to becoming awkward and unsettling.


A table is located at the center of the exhibition space. On top of it lie stacks of five different well-known magazines. Markings inside each magazine will guide the viewer to an article that the artist has seamlessly inserted. These are fabricated articles where characters from different reunions once again have been put within a different reality. People that are part of a black and white family photograph have been separated, both by time and place. One appears in article written years ago, describing him as a composite photograph of a typical patient suffering from Melancholia. The other appears in a photo magazine and is evidently the photographic subject of someone named Bernardo S.R. Avedon. A third member of the group appears in an article written for Cabinet, and personifies a deceased family member of the writer Wolfgang Gray Sewald. If the reunion setting offered a sense of comfort and belonging, these articles opens up for a possible way of moving on.

Table of Periodicals Table of Periodicals
Image in Progress Psychology Today

Reported Missing documents a loss that will not stay buried; one that will keep on diverging in multiple paths. The haunting gazes looking out from the photographs will return again and again, never to be lost. A lecture is part of the installation wherein the artist will take the persona of her former art history professor. This will offer and analytical examination of the installation, simultaneously presented from a first- and a third-person perspective.

Reading the Artforum review Tree of Lost Things

This installation was created for a solo show at Unspeakable Project in San Francisco. On view November 15 – December 8, 2012.

Individual photographs from the series A Reunion of Lost People can be seen here.

Tree of Lost Things

Click on magazines titles to download pdf’s of articles.
Artforum – Art in America – Cabinet – Image in Progress – Psychology Today –


  • November 21st, 2012