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Pain H Files

© Lia Perjovschi. Photo by Peter Paul Geoffrion.

Pain H Files

Artist: Lia Perjovschi (born in Sibiu, Romania, 1961)
Culture: Romanian
Date: 1996–2003
Medium: Twenty-four mass-produced dolls; seventeen handmade plaster of Paris dolls; and plastic bag with homeopathic pill containers
Classification: Mixed Media
Credit Line: Purchase, Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University Fund for Acquisitions and funds provided by Marilyn M. Arthur (A.B.’56, P’79, P’88)
Label Text:In Pain H Files, Lia Perjovschi altered a set of commercially produced dolls by pulling out their hair and wrapping them in medical gauze. The painted marks correspond to her own physical sensations such as tingling, numbness, sharp pain, headaches, and even temporary blindness that she felt when being treated by a homeopathic doctor. Eventually, Lia became dissatisfied with the altered mass-produced dolls, and fabricated a second set of seventeen dolls from plaster of Paris, which she painted in a similar way.

The dolls are illustrative objects: works of art addressed to symptoms of physiological and psychological problems. Perjovschi insists that the dolls not be displayed in a way that makes them "appear to gesture; they must be seen like bodies lying on a flat surface in an MRI machine for analysis." Beginning with the idea of investigation to accumulate data about an illness and progressing to meditating on the processes or patterns of a life, Perjovschi's artwork also refers to the evolution of Platonic and Socratic theories of memory, including speculation on the immortality of the soul. Perjovschi writes that her interest in these concepts derives from "remembering ideas that the soul contemplates in another existence, or reminiscence theory."

Object number: 2007.9.1
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