There was a post World War II art movement called Nouveau Realism, that among other things, sought to portray individuals and society through the random accumulation of things. Basically, your trash was a picture of you. It was a way of making a statement about mass production and the tendency to allow things to define who we are or what we represent.
<– This piece is called “Portrait of Yves Klein” by Arman. He supposedly emptied Klein’s trash car and randomly placed the items in this vitrine. I know this may seem like a stretch – I thought it was, but I have to say, the idea grew of me. We have so many things that represent us, or things we alter to appear as though they represent us. I’ve heard people joke that they wish they’re lives were as exciting as their Facebook wall make them seem.
I suppose that Arman’s gesture was one of mockery perhaps, because it really never is our things that define us and if they do, then, that’s just pretty sad. They perhaps give one clue to aspects of our lives or values, but they don’t (or shouldn’t) really define us.
I decided to take a picture of the inside of my purse and see what it says about me.
1. Hand me down designer purse – I love a bargain, especially a free one.
2. Sunglasses – everyone needs sunglasses. I bought these at the 99 Cent store and when I pulled the sticker off the lens, it was cracked. I kept them anyway. Who cares, it’s a buck.
3. Inhaler – my daughter and I are asthmatics.
4. Giant/overstuffed wallet – I tend to let things gather.
5. Husband’s watch – went to get the battery changed, only to find out it is broken. Keep forgetting to take it out of my purse.
6. Medication – I have issues. So sue me;)
7. Big Lots value card – I have a hard time saying no to things – never used it.
8. Pack of face plotters – my mom is always trying to beautify me to no avail.
9. Folded coupons – hate fast food, but you know what, it’s fast and it’s food.
10. Laffy Taffy wrapper – I like an afternoon candy.
11. Check book – archaic form of money that sometimes comes in handy.
Well, I don’t think any of these things define me, but they certainly give you a snapshot of my life – the mundane, ridiculous and necessary parts of me. I wonder if anyone can say what defines them – I mean, I think other people can more accurately define us than we can ourselves. Often the idea I have of myself is completely different from what others express to me. I guess that’s supposed to be how it is though; who and what we are is not for our own personal enjoyment only, but for those around us. At least it should be enjoyment that we are bringing.