Previous AA2A Artist

Helen Jacobs

Project summary:

For a future exhibition in London entitled 'Rib', my proposal has been selected to make a fine wardrobe made in the symbolic shape of a woman. It will be carefully handcrafted of hard and laminated wood with a fine oak or mahogany veneer with decorative wood trimming and double doors. Inside the wardrobe there will be a central space in the exact shape of me, down to the finest details possible. Filling the gap between this space and the walls of the wardrobe will be intriguing shelves and drawers of varying shape and size. 

As something that has intrigued me since I was a child, the allocation of space and the finding of a place of belonging have strongly influenced my work. This piece reflects on the many hours of my youth spent creating small secret places within my childhood home in which to hide, to play, to think, and to pretend. It is not to say that I feel my place in the world should be hidden away, but that I feel comfort in concealment. It reflects my quiet and introverted personality. It also refers to the Freudian theory of the desire to return to the mother's womb. I find as I grow into womanhood hat there is a danger of me always hiding in the home where I feel protected from the outside world. But this sense of agoraphobia also conflicts with he equally debilitating feeling of cIaustrophobia caused by the confines of walls and boundaries and possessions. It is a precarious balance finding one's own space of belonging. 

This piece hints at a generic perception of women and how one fits into the image. It is a container of the inner-self, smaller and more child-like than the outer shell with the outward persona of a woman. The actual shape of me less distinguishable as a woman. The piece plays with perceptions and misconceptions. The use of drawers and shelves is inspired by a combination of influences - since I was a child I have been attracted to compartments and organising, the allocation of space to objects as well as to myself; also the desire to be surrounded by one's belongings, to be able to pour over one's collection of useful and inspiratlonal things, drawing one's space and objects; to the body like a magnet and containing them within one's boundaries. The reality of the space is awkward and stifling, but represents an idea of totality. 

I find it interesting that the idea of hiding within the home also has resonance with the exhibition's title. According to the bible, Eve, created from the rib of Adam, set about the notion of original sin. By eating the forbidden fruit of knowledge Adam and Eve knew good and evil and hid their nakedness and hid from God.

Wood, mattress, gloss paint