Derealization

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A Hotel Room
A bedroom

Derealization is a mental health disorder. Individuals, who experience derealization, may feel that the surrounding world isn‘t real. It may seem lifeless, colorless, artificial, or even flat, two-dimensional, like everything around them is some kind of a decoration, not real. People may feel as if they are in a dream or a fog, or as if a glass wall or veil separates them from their surroundings. The implied character of my works is a patient suffering from derealization - alone, isolated not only from the rest of the world but also from himself.

A motif of the mirror is repetitive in my works. It’s an object, which is very familiar to us and can be seen every day. Its main function is a precise reflection of the ever-changing environment, but I‘m more interested in the mirror‘s symbolic meaning – could it be a portal to another world? I used the mirror as a tool for deception - while looking at the mirror, you might question its realness. Maybe it’s just a painting or maybe a hole to another space? This kind of portrayal blurs the line between fantasy and reality - for example, my implied character does not see its own reflection in the mirror. The refusal to reflect a person in the mirror is purposive – it is a metaphor about the loss of identity. A person looks at himself in the mirror, an object which should reflect him precisely, and doesn’t see himself, his entirety, by which he is recognizable and distinguishable from others. He isn‘t an active participant in this world, he‘s only an outside observer.

The sterile, artificial interiors dominate in my works. I refuse to depict personal details in order to create the feeling of emptiness; something has just been here, but it’s gone now. I depict moments just after an “incident”. The viewer can forebode that something just happened here, but time has passed by and stopped, and all the remaining objects are motionless, left to stand here forever as if they’re exhibits in a museum.

Many people have a passing experience of derealization at some point. For example, studies confirm that the phenomenon called déjà vu is a common experience in healthy individuals, with as much as 70% of the population reporting it. Déjà vu is French and literally means “already seen” – it’s a feeling that you have already experienced something that is actually happening for the first time. Individuals, who encounter the déjà vu feeling, may experience similar symptoms as the patients with derealization – as if having the disorienting, hallucinatory quality of a dream.
 

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