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The House in a Forest on a Coast

The House in the Forest by the Sea, 2021. Installation: clothes sewn together, debris, etc. Variable size (minimum height 625 cm).

The House in the Forest by the Sea consists of debris and clothes of victims from various conflict-ridden parts of the world. The debris is arranged in rows on the floor as if someone had tried to lay down new foundations – perhaps for the house promised in the title – or had systematised the fragments of destruction as would a person with obsessive-compulsive disorder when trying to find a meaningful pattern in a meaningless moment of chaos. The clothes have been stitched together to form vast sails, which are stretched out from the ceiling, alluding to a ship on the invisible sea, also mentioned in the title. The horizontal and vertical axes in the work may refer to the earthly and spiritual aspects of life and the afterlife. 

People and organisations from more than 15 countries have collaborated with the artist in order to collect the materials for the artwork. The clothes were donated from relatives of family members who lost their lives in political violence, and the fragments of debris from buildings destroyed in conflicts have been gathered and transported with help from local people, organisations and embassies. These artefact-like objects bear traces of history by materialising the memory of the dramatic events they have witnessed. 

Despite the bleak references, the juxtaposition of these materials from different and sometimes even warring conflict areas forms a statement of irrepressible optimism despite the tragedy – creating a simultaneously abstract and very tangible monument to survival, an appeal for universal human empathy that instils hope for the future. 

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