Suite Hysteria
Artist Statement

Suite Hysteria - the dissection of the paternal womb

Accidental regression: I realised that one of my earliest memories is that of a sofa or an armchair. I have strong recollections of crying facedown into the crease of the three piece suite. I can feel the fabric, rough against my skin. The upholstery was beige and had a slight ribbed effect. There was brown piping that was softer to the touch. The buttons that covered the seat offered entertainment in my catatonic state. The stare, the pull, the bite. The smell is still strong within my skin, physical and psychological memories.

At every stage of the story - living room furniture has featured heavily.

I choose to use performance as my main medium, there is a natural pull toward the 'stage', also the rawness and connection with the material becomes more apparent to me as I perform. I decided early on in 'Suite Hysteria' that this ongoing body of work was to be documented thoroughly, recording everything that was important to me and the creation of the pieces whether they be live, installation, sculpture, sound or a mixture of all, which is inevitably what happens. It seemed silly to me that I might rip apart this armchair alone in a private space when it is so relevant to the body of work that I am creating. In this instance I decided that by tearing up the very essence of comfort, of my childhood and adulthood, I am physically exposing what is emotional in my work (a continuing theme throughout). I am starting from the beginning, releasing the wooden frame from its shell to begin a new life as I see fit. The very aggression that this physical act will bring out of me is a hugely important element in 'Suite Hysteria' as too is the endurance of a four day destructive tirade adding further to this challenging encounter with a simple piece of living room furniture.

The armchair is my comfort blanket - where I am ill, relaxed, upset, numb sometimes too. Where I go when I am worn out, soaked with sweat and tears, the place I retreat to. Somehow I still muster enough energy to fight back. The armchair witnesses this crime against my body - an unknowing accomplice in my battle with the shell.

With my head resting on his knee, only the blue glare of the tv would disturb my relaxed state. It felt like the womb, snuggled in a ball on the sofa, I felt loved, I was wanted. Am I trying to recreate this paternal womb? The site of the living room.



Suite Hysteria Film Still


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Suite Hysteria © Bernadette Louise