>Projects >2021 >Motherhood

Lisa Edi


The Wochenbett (literally translated as “week bed”) refers to the postnatal period directly after giving birth, when the health of the mother and baby must be carefully monitored, as both of their bodies adjust to the initial separation from one another. Lisa Edi produced a series of photographs in the days immediately after the birth of her son and portrayed other women before and after giving birth, which depicts aspects of maternity that are rarely seen outside the domestic setting. These images bear witness to the complexity of feelings that come with a new-born baby into a mother’s world: the loneliness that arises from desperately needing time to oneself; the dependency and vulnerability one experiences when one suddenly has another life in one’s hands.

Motherhood is often portrayed as an uncomplicated, happy part of life, but in order to maintain this image, certain facts must be obscured. In Mothers: An Essay on Love and Cruelty, Jacqueline Rose writes that “most women’s bodily experiences, from menstruation to pregnancy to menopause, are indiscriminately seen as a form of weakness or illness: too much blood and guts, bodies that are either too wet or too dry, bodies where the boundaries between inside and outside are uncomfortably blurred.” Photographs like Lisa Edi’s bring the unspeakable into focus.
On soft, white fabric – normally a sign of perfect cleanliness and fresh odours – bodily fluids flow freely and unapologetically. And yet the palette of pastel colours is not overshadowed by the visceral realities of faeces, a severed umbilical cord and the post-natal figure. Instead, this series of photographs is a testament to the resilience of a relationship and a mother’s ability to withstand the violence of childbirth. By documenting her own puerperium and that of other women, the photographer purposefully recomposes the image of motherhood to show not only the soft skin and the sugary sweetness, but also the inedible and the inevitable – which alone deserve to be visible.


Lisa Edi was born in 1989 in Schärding, Upper Austria. She lives and works in Vienna as an artist and photographer for fashion, portraits and still lifes. Having studied fashion and sculpture before completing her diploma in Applied Photography and Time-based Media at the University of Applied Arts Vienna in 2019, she now works across disciplines to enrich her diverse photographic practice. Since 2017, Lisa Edi’s photographs have been featured in numerous exhibitions, magazines and fashion campaigns.
Lisa Edi’s work combines a strong sensitivity to the person or material she photographs and a flair for generative encounters. Her images capture moments of intimate interaction between fabric, flesh, objects and light.