Lora Hristova

 

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Self-Medicating (2010)

55 x 45 x 12 cm (when closed) Mixed media

This cabinet appeared outside my house one day, discarded and inadvertently gifted. Rooms seemed to naturally arrange themselves into the dusty corners, each compartment seemed expectant. A spider was evicted so that the renovation could begin.

The basement became a forgotten archive of advice ignored, insults remembered, regrets stored and filed away. Keys suspended like mementoes on red thread. Victims, bound tight with string. Some barely covered, others mummified completely. Have they spun the cocoons themselves, been deformed and stripped of purpose by an external force or like dust have the threads settled on them over time? Is wrapping a key a destructive act? They quiver above the gaping mouths of a group of dusty bottles. Evidence of everything we have ever swallowed. The rusted husks of metal in their cotton casings hang expectantly over the grey glass, rubbed matt by time.

Directly above the cold basement is the presentation room. Three spaces on the sofa, two pricked with many pins either to ward off unwanted company or stab invisible custodians. The centre seat is stained, wet and sticky. Over-excitement. Unadulterated vanity. The cracked glass shows nothing but the dewy patch. Perhaps we have arrived too late or perhaps it is our own chair waiting to be filled. Display and self-scrutiny, self-love and hatred in equal measure.

The largest room is a place of wishes, dreams, mundane imaginings cracked with doubt and anxious hesitation. Sprouting out of bath time thoughts are acres of fantasy puckered by fear. Within the cabinet lies another cabinet. Arranged and stacked neatly are all the pills we have yet to take. There are implements to go in our mouth and scrape against our teeth, to clean them and fill them and make them dirty again.

On the doors is scrawled in minute script the restless stream of a disturbed consciousness. Insults, insecurities, incomprehensible nonsense. Papering over the cracks with regurgitated self help, misremembered, misunderstood, a complete mish-mash of advice and reassurance twisted and forgotten so as to offer no comfort. When does a hobby become an obsession, neurosis become insanity or an action require treatment? When there is no one to listen, an old cabinet emptied of medication could become the ideal space for thoughts to be purged.