"A house becomes a home when people live in it and a personal history is inscribed into it... A home is reliant on the body to be a home," explains artist Fiona Roberts. Her latest installation piece, Intimate Vestiges
, merges the body and the home beautifully — and more literally than you'd expect. The hairbrush is made of real hair, the pillows on the bed sport human faces, and the fibers in the area rug are shaped like fingers.
Roberts goes on to say that once the connection between the body and the home is made, they come to reflect each other in their function and perception: "Both have symbolic associations of safety, shelter and protection, as well as the potential to be a site for trauma and damage." These two conflicting views of the body, as something simultaneously comforting and threatening, are evident throughout the installation. While the faces in the pillows appear to be yearning to kiss, the eyes on the curtains stare into the room accusingly. The atmosphere in the room is both intimate and unnerving, and the feeling it evokes is equivalent to how you'd feel reading someone's journal.
Roberts confronts her viewers with images of a body not their own to an exceedingly poignant effect. The viewer is confronted with the fact that any place they have been has been seen and lived in by someone else: "It is not the obvious physical and tangible history I’m interested in but the forgotten, unknown, or seemingly unimportant every-day moments of people who lived there." The human trace is inescapable, and memories must compete and overlap. Intimate Vestiges
leaves us wondering what it means to be at home in our own body, and whether a physical place can truly belong to just one person.