Bandaged Room
Jennifer Thoreson, Photographer

Bandaged Room

In 2012, over the Christmas holiday I pushed the reset button. I indulged in a sentimental ramble through a basement packed full of boxes left untouched since the day I had moved to Albuquerque from Boston.It was good for things to surface.It was good remember, to feel the pang in my heart from each item I unpacked. I touched them to my face, traced them with my fingers, and packed them away again, allowing them to make me feel vulnerable, and enormously exposed.Among the boxes were two chairs I had forgotten about, and when I laid eyes on them they brought an immediate sensation of release, and heartfelt gladness. On moving day, at six in the morning in Boston, the moving truck was finally completely packed and destined for Albuquerque. I said goodbye to my home, closed the door, and walked down my eight front steps.At the curb, there were two perfect, human-looking chairs sitting side by side, waiting for the Tuesday garbage pick-up.At the last moment, I swept them up and put them in the back of the truck, as I knew I would need them someday.

I unpacked both chairs from the basement and brought them into my studio.They each had broken legs. I tore the remainder of a bolt of muslin fabric into strips, and created casts for their legs in order to mend them. The new, unblemished fabric is a clean, untarnished new covering for the chairs.The muslin is like a blank canvas. It is the fabric used to pattern new garments, and begin new things. The amassed fabric looked like the layer under the upholstery, or the body under the skin. I was entranced with the rhythmic process of tearing the fabric, bathing it in water, and wrapping the legs of the chairs.I continued to apply the fabric, and eventually covered both chairs completely in strips of muslin. The musty aroma of the fabric was comforting; I even relished the sounds made when it was torn, together with the solemn dripping sounds of the water bath.The chairs seemed happier, all covered up, as if they had been beautified.The water is Baptismal, representing a death, burial, and resurrection.It is cleansing; transgressions and imperfections are washed away. The damage is covered up, and it is a picture of second chances.I enjoyed caring for the chairs in a ritualistic manner, spending so much time with them, re-purposing them.

After wrapping the chairs, I began tosearch on Craigslist for a used table.I specifically wanted something unwanted, so I could make it ‘feel’ wanted again.Once delivered, I began to wrap the table in wet muslin strips.As the strips began to compile, I realized the muslin resembled a burial cloth. The process began to represent both a death and resurrection.The long horizontal strips that covered the surface of the table began to resemble muscle tissue, or bodily masses. I continued to build up the form into a tumorous mass, which began to imply a body.I want it to appear as if it could take a breath, heavy and corporeal. The process of conversion became obsessive.It is silent and extremely private, tedious, but liberating.I rented a large garage studio, brought the table and chairs into the space, and began to cover the walls.For the first time in as an artist, I discarded my drawings and plans, and wandered from my script.I covered and uncovered the walls three separate times before I was at peace with them.Emotional residue of anger and sadness seemed to build up in the fabric each time it was torn down.I felt as though I needed to be more patient with it, as if it were trying to teach me something.At last, I began to tear the fabric into strips, bathe it in water and lay it onto the walls inch by inch.It evolved into an absurdly repetitive, seemingly futile motion.It was musical,a solitary pitch to hone in on.The process of covering the walls took many months of solitary work.The time was important to me, as it allowed for me to see clearly, trust myself, and feel convicted again.Recently, while walking through a surplus store, I found sixteen rolls of the exact wallpaper that lined the living room of my childhood home.I purchased the paper, along with unwanted hardwood flooring removed from a foreclosure property.The installation is finally complete, adorned with sentimental wallpaper and a repurposed floor.The installation was photographed with two models both wearing baptismal garments and soaked in water.