Can we use the talking cure to solve society’s ‘problem’ with women? Natalya Hughes’s The Interior invites audiences into an exaggerated consultation room playfully furnished for psychoanalysis. This immersive installation combines sculptural seating, richly patterned soft furnishings, and uncanny object d’art, nestled around a hand-painted mural to generate a stimulating space to unpack our collective and unconscious biases.
Interested in the role of women and their historical absence from positions of power, the part-professional part-domestic setting conjured by The Interior plays with gendered power dynamics between public and private space. The couches that dot the gallery take their lush contours from the shapes of the female body, and their detailed upholstery sees motifs of eyes, rats, and snakes from Freud’s patient case studies ripple over the space in fleshy tones.
Audiences are invited to recline and be enveloped, soothed, and held by the furniture’s womanly forms while taking turns playing analyst and patient. Throughout this bodily encounter The Interior hopes to create a space where the existence of women can be reimagined on different terms in the ‘post-Me Too’ world.
Natalya Hughes is the 2022 recipient of the Michela & Adrian Fini Artist Fellowship, awarded by Sheila Foundation.