In Ancient Greece, the polemical opposite of the practice of self-care was the state of Stultitia: a life lived in inertia, open to all internal and external representations without the ability or wish to discriminate in their value.
My intent with this work was to explore the questions I have asked myself following pivotal events in my personal history about how those events changed the person I became. These questions had an ambiguous effect on my ability to process trauma – whilst they were an attempt at understanding, they ultimately kept me harnessed in time to those events.
But this work is also about the post-Enlightenment drive to categorise, to define, in the pursuit of ontological understanding. Trauma has become an object for “therapeutic” examination and interpretation, to create a clean hygiene layer to prevent contamination between the personal and the societal, between messy, bodily, leaking psychic processes and the rational mind.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Nelson (she/her) is a contemporary conceptual artist based in London and currently studying for an MA at the Royal College of Art. Primarily working in performance, Nelson explores themes of trauma, memory, and self-identity in her work.
Much of Nelson’s work plays with the idea of the abject, and she often mixes uncomfortable visual metaphors with dark humour believing that this will make the work resonate longer with the viewer.
Nelson considers her work part of the auto-ethnographic tradition – she uses episodes from her own story as the source of her work, believing it will yield insights about issues in our wider society, particularly around how women are treated and how childhood trauma affects us as adults. She invites the audience to use the visual interpretations of her experiences as a springboard to explore their own.