Spanish artist Selva Aparicio creates thought-provoking installations that bring different issues—environmental, political, and social—to light. Her MFA thesis installation, entitled Childhood Memories, is no different. Through this visually stunning piece, the artist exposes her own childhood trauma, combining personal memories with a decorative object for the home. While carpets are usually used to cover the floor, Aparicio immortalizes her experiences by hand carving a tapestry directly into wooden flooring—laid bare for anyone to see.
From afar, the carpet resembles a real tapestry. It is only when the viewer looks closer that they see the innumerable details Aparicio included in the piece to emulate a three-dimensional object. Tassels are strewn about in different directions, the corner is flipped, and the design resembles a traditional Persian carpet design. The artist carefully etched away at the oak utility flooring to create a white and brown contrast in the floral pattern.
“I presented this installation as my thesis during my MFA at Yale University,” Aparicio explains to My Modern Met. “Rugs are typically adorned with sacred gardens and oases, and can be moved around the home. This rug stayed put, quietly participating in years of familial abuse. This installation is about covering and exposing, trauma, and bearing witness.
“My memories are permanently etched, so the soft fabric is represented in hand-carved scars on discarded wood flooring,” Aparicio continues. “I strive to find beauty in the peril and bear witness to the progression of ephemerality-permanence-loss.”
The artist has installations on display at the International Museum of Surgical Science until January 17, 2021 and at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago until May 2, 2021. Scroll down to see more images of Childhood Memories, and visit Aparicio's website to learn more about her work.