A list of complaints

“A list of Complaints” is a piece that explores the passing of time through the extrusions of our bodies. Delivered as a diptych, the work is comprised of a video piece and a sculpture.

The video captures a performance in which a hammer is used to break off hair by smashing it against a wall. The sculpture is a “fetish” object: the dress worn in the performance, embroidered with a set of commands written using the hair removed by the hammer.
At its edges, the body extends into half-alive souvenirs like hair and nails that are made from the body but also exterior to it and, because of their lack of nerve endings, can be painlessly removed.

These are also markers of time because they grow at a constant rate and contain chemicals and residues that were present in the body at the time they were formed. They are also the only physical memory that remains on our body from past events other than disfigurements such as scars.

Consequently, cutting away these souvenirs can be a ceremonius act of self-purification and renewal and women indulge in manicures, pedicures and haircuts for this purpose.
These always follow the same format, the excess extrusions are cut away with maximum efficiency (using scissors or various electronic mechanisms) and then brushed away to be disposed of and never seen again.
There is an urgency to remove and forget these artefacts of a past self so that a “new you” can emerge afresh.
This piece draws on voodoo rituals where the opposite occurs: pieces of the body are retained and re-composed into “fetish objects” to capture certain emotional experiences or gain influence over their owner.

To this end, the hair is hammered from the head to subject it to an act of punishment and violence thereby vanquishing evil spirits, which might have influenced its owner.
The hair is then woven into the dress worn by the artist during the hammering ceremony, as a set of commands.

It is not clear whether the artist should follow the commands or whether the commands should possess a kind of voodoo power over the artist but the commands are intended to prohibit regretful behaviours that date from the moment that the hair was originally grown.

Text sewn on the dress with left over hair:

Stop being so weak.
Stop asking for permission from your father.
Stop making art only about yourself .
Stop believing in astrology, it’s uncool.
Stop wanting to make your mother proud.
Stop believing she is watching over you from heaven.
Stop hurting yourself .
Stop being afraid of death.
In the collection of The National Museum of Contemporary Art of Romania

Video - 3.42 minutes
Cotton dress with  257 letters embroided with hair
(dress size 105x80 cm)