In the past I have worked with materials that are perishable: Pears, eggs, chewing gum, cheese. Things that could have made a shopping list on paper. In my work I usually try to play with minimal interventions and respect for the material with the question: When is something valuable / empty. I notice that in these turbulent times I turn in both literally and figuratively. I can't go looking for material extensively, so I look for it indoors. The space offered by Diaphane x B32 gave me the opportunity to bring two of my houses together.
SPLIT HOME SPLIT HOUSES is not only a tribute to or a longing for two houses I have known. It is a metaphor for my current situation. In addition, it may, unintentionally, also reflect the feelings of many, because: What is home?
SPLIT HOME SPLIT HOUSES
April 2020, B32 Artspace
On the weekend before Carnival, I was plundering the dress up chest in the attic. When I left the attic behind me with arms full of fur-colored fur coats and crazy hats, I saw my old dollhouse in the corner. A house where I had not been for years. At the time it was a fleeting thought but recently I suddenly thought of that dusty dollhouse in the attic again.
At one point I had two doll houses due to my parents' divorce. One with my father and one with my mother. Different dollhouse families lived in the two dollhouses, who fell within a different social demographic profile. One of the houses is a lot bigger: three floors. The ground floor has two rooms with an adjoining garden with a swing, a staircase on the side of the house leads to the first floor, which is also divided into two rooms. If you go up the stairs you will reach the attic. The smaller house has two floors. This house also has two rooms on the ground floor, one on the first floor. There is no staircase, no garden. The roof is orange with roof tiles.
Now that we have all been forced to surrender to the bounded area we call home, we may look at that space differently. Are we getting a new appreciation for our house or are we only now recognizing the hidden flaws? I am now aware that there is a difference between a house and a home. But what makes that difference?
April 2020, B32 Artspace
Last December, my grandfather moved out of the house where he spent most of his life. With and without my grandmother. Since my grandmother's sudden death more than 15 years ago, virtually nothing had changed in that house. Her nightgown was still hanging from a coat hanger on the linen closet next to the bed. It was as if time stood still there. Until he had to pack his house to live smaller. Perhaps one of the most painful consequences of that move was that my grandfather was forced to make choices. What can and what not? It was difficult to see how impossible it was for my grandfather to part with, in other people's eyes, very meaningless objects: Cabinets, carpets, books. It was easy to label my grandfather as stubborn. Persistently claiming that everything would fit in his new apartment. His inability to get rid of things. Maybe it was also so painful to watch because I recognized myself in his behavior. It wasn't about how much he liked the furniture or how much it was worth. It was the intrinsic value that made its disposal virtually impossible. That furniture was not furniture. They were my grandmother. The life he had built up with her. Saying goodbye to those things meant saying goodbye to that life. And he couldn't. Not again.
My own move was parallel to his move. After almost 7 years of relationship, my then boyfriend and I decided to split up. And so I also had to pack my things to live smaller. I went from 100 m² to 25 m². Call it a luxury issue, but since I never ran out of space, I never realized how much stuff I had accumulated over time. Until I suddenly had to pack it all up, and then give it a place in a space that is ¼ from where it came from. That's how I ended up in a forced process of elimination.
It was a little surreal: My grandpa and I, at the same time. Two generations from the same bloodline who have their whole and cut into boxes moved into a new phase of their lives.
In the aftermath of parting, you are advised to do fun things in particular. To seek distraction. Surround yourself with friends and family.
At that point in time corona comes to the scene. And there we are, in our new life. Alone. In a house that houses our belongings, which offers shelter, but is not at home. Not homeless, but houseless.
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