Lauren E. Simonutti: 8 Rooms, 7 Mirrors, 6 Clocks, 2 Minds & 199 Panes of Glass January 8 — March 6, 2010

8 rooms, 7 mirrors, 6 clocks, 2 minds & 199 panes of glass

Madness strips things down to their core.  It takes everything and in exchange offers only more madness, and the occasional ability to see things that are not there.

03.28.06  There were so many beginnings I had to choose one, and since this is a story of anniversaries 03.28.06 seemed the most appropriate.  That is the day I began to hear voices.  Three of them, quite distinct.  Two are taunting and the third voice is mine, as I have heard it externally, on a tape recording or answering machine.  That voice has some reserve, it seldom makes itself heard.  The others are a constant.  They all live in my right ear which rather makes sense as I spontaneously went deaf in that ear a decade ago and it has been vacant ever since.  As time and treatment progressed they have stopped screaming and contribute only a dull murmur.  Except at bedtime, at bedtime they like to sing. It presents itself as a sing‑song ‑ Rapid cycling, mixed state bipolar with schizoaffective disorder.

The problem with madness is that you can feel it coming but when you tell people you think you are going crazy they do not believe you.  It is too distant a concept.  Too melodramatic.  You don’t believe it yourself until you have fallen so quickly and so far that your fingernails are the only thing holding you up, balanced with your feet dangling on either side of a narrow fence with your heart and mind directly over center, so that when you do fall it will split you in two.  And split equally.  So there’s not even a stronger side left to win.

I began to break time down.

Smaller and smaller parcels are easier to digest, easier to recognize, easier to bear.

This would be the math:

4 birthdays

3 + 1/2 years

42 months

1307 days (taking into account the leap year)

1,882,080 minutes

112,924,800 seconds

I would anatomize it further but it might make me appear obsessive.

The misfirings of my beloved/despised mind that conspire to convince me to destroy all have rendered me housebound and led to a solitary life.  A creature of past, proof, memory and imaginary friends,  I am aware enough to know the things I see and hear are not real, but that does not mean I do not still see and hear them. 

Over three and one half years I have spent alone amidst these 8 rooms, 7 mirrors, 6 clocks, 2 minds and 199 panes of glass.  And this is what I saw here.  This is what I learned.

I figure it could go one of two ways‑ I will either capture my ascension from madness to as much a level of sanity for which one of my composition could hope, or I will leave a document of it all, in the case that I should lose.

 

The Devil’s Alphabet

Sometimes the difference between living and dying is just a little bit.

Sometimes the difference between living and dying is just a sigh. 

I was lost, had been for years, inside outside upside down, at a loss for words, a loss of memory, loss of faith.  Spiraling wildly out of control I reached out desperately and laid my hands on the letter A.

Without a second thought I followed the rest of the alphabet all the way home.

Spell me.

 

A is where it all began.

B laments- alone alone alone

C sees stones at the seashore

D is fond of cats (and utterly mad).

E is the most essential and thus the most corrupt.

E distorts, disturbs and frequently resorts to blackmail.

F is the keeper of keys to the garden of foolish choices.

G is a lowercase god with a legendary bag of tricks.  He can build you.

H is in the lowercase and in recline.  An invitation unsent.

I (eye).  The undeniable.

J starts at the root and is frequently confined.

K kicks up her heels.  She is of dubious reputation.

L (in absentia)

'L' exists in memory.

It is quite lovely but will never see the light of day.

It is the first letter of the sobriquet by which I was christened,

you see, and so must remain hidden.

For without it the Devil can never call out to me by name. 

M for me and me alone.

N chose poorly.

O- look closely.  She is never alone.

P of pretense, false promises and intentional deception.

Q is unhappy with his tail and seeks the solace of surgical amputation under the watchful eye of vanity.

Q’s face is full of stars.

R is rended piece by piece but still alive.

S is serpentine susurration.  I can hear it through the skin.

T holds the hand in the glove.

U unravels, everything becomes undone.

V – tick tock.

W is its’ own altar.

X – have you ever fallen up?

Y never stops asking and never gives answers.

Z  the end brings us all the way and back home again.

 

Mental illness is not something easily understood. Most of us only hear about it through television or the cinema, which tends to sensationalize the condition. Rarely do we meet a person truly afflicted with mental illness who can explain it. In 2006, Lauren E. Simonutti started hearing three distinct voices in her right ear, the ear she lost hearing in years prior. After numerous hospitalizations and mis-diagnoses, Lauren was finally given a name to her illness, rapid cycling, mixed state bipolar with schizoaffective disorder, and given proper medicines which allows her to function with great clarity on a daily basis.

Taking pictures since she was twelve, Lauren turned the camera on herself, photographing within the confines of her home, which she has rarely left since 2006. The result of this self-imposed isolation is a haunting, honest body of work about mental illness and a testament to her resilience and need to confront and understand her condition. As she says in her artist statement:

Madness strips things down to their core. It takes everything and in exchange offers only more madness, and the occasional ability to see things that are not there....The problem with madness is that you can feel it coming but when you tell people you think you are going crazy they do not believe you. It is too distant a concept. Too melodramatic. You don’t believe it yourself until you have fallen so quickly and so far that your fingernails are the only thing holding you up, balanced with your feet dangling on either side of a narrow fence with your heart and mind directly over center, so that when you do fall it will split you in two. And split equally. So there’s not even a stronger side left to win.....Over three and one half years I have spent alone amidst these 8 rooms, 7 mirrors, 6 clocks, 2 minds and 199 panes of glass. And this is what I saw here. This is what I learned.

Most artists strive to make work that says something – that reaches deep inside themselves to reveal a fear or a desire. Lauren E. Simonutti presents work that is so truthful and so raw that the viewer can’t help but accept her truth and enter a world which may be unfamiliar but undeniably powerful.

Work is currently not available.

Please call: (312) 266-2350 for prices of specific pieces.
Prices are print only unless otherwise indicated.

Lauren E. Simonutti
The Devil's Alphabet: A, 2007
Lauren E. Simonutti
The Devil's Alphabet: B, 2007
Lauren E. Simonutti
The Devil's Alphabet: C, 2007
Lauren E. Simonutti
The Devil's Alphabet: D, 2007
Lauren E. Simonutti
The Devil's Alphabet: E, 2007
Lauren E. Simonutti
The Devil's Alphabet: F, 2007
Lauren E. Simonutti
The Devil's Alphabet: G, 2007
Lauren E. Simonutti
The Devil's Alphabet: H, 2007
Lauren E. Simonutti
The Devil's Alphabet: I, 2007
Lauren E. Simonutti
The Devil's Alphabet: J, 2007
Lauren E. Simonutti
The Devil's Alphabet: K, 2007
Lauren E. Simonutti
The Devil's Alphabet: L, 2007
Lauren E. Simonutti
The Devil's Alphabet: M, 2007
Lauren E. Simonutti
The Devil's Alphabet: N, 2007
Lauren E. Simonutti
The Devil's Alphabet: O, 2007
Lauren E. Simonutti
The Devil's Alphabet: P, 2007
Lauren E. Simonutti
The Devil's Alphabet: Q, 2007
Lauren E. Simonutti
The Devil's Alphabet: R, 2007
Lauren E. Simonutti
The Devil's Alphabet: S, 2007
Lauren E. Simonutti
The Devil's Alphabet: T, 2007
Lauren E. Simonutti
The Devil's Alphabet: U, 2007
Lauren E. Simonutti
The Devil's Alphabet: V, 2007
Lauren E. Simonutti
The Devil's Alphabet: W, 2007
Lauren E. Simonutti
The Devil's Alphabet: X, 2007
Lauren E. Simonutti
The Devil's Alphabet: Y, 2007
Lauren E. Simonutti
The Devil's Alphabet: Z, 2007
Lauren E. Simonutti
Admission, 2011
Lauren E. Simonutti
And My, How We Laughed, 2006
Lauren E. Simonutti
Apology, 2012
Lauren E. Simonutti
Barely there (drowning inside), 2010
Lauren E. Simonutti
Bedroom, 2008
Lauren E. Simonutti
Birthday Girl, 2008
Lauren E. Simonutti
Bring the Candle to the Flame, 2009
Lauren E. Simonutti
Climbing the Walls, 2009
Lauren E. Simonutti
Confinement, 2011
Lauren E. Simonutti
Contemplating Daybreak, 2010
Lauren E. Simonutti
Contortion, 2008
Lauren E. Simonutti
Cornered, 2011
Lauren E. Simonutti
Don't Bother to Pack, 2008
Lauren E. Simonutti
Eyes Taped Shut, 2010
Lauren E. Simonutti
Haven, 2008
Lauren E. Simonutti
Hell Uninvited, 2009
Lauren E. Simonutti
Helpless, 2008
Lauren E. Simonutti
Hollow, 2008
Lauren E. Simonutti
Homecoming, 2008
Lauren E. Simonutti
Hospice, 2008
Lauren E. Simonutti
Hospitality, 2008
Lauren E. Simonutti
Idle Hands, 2011
Lauren E. Simonutti
If Bruises Were Kisses, 2009
Lauren E. Simonutti
Inside, 2008
Lauren E. Simonutti
Invisible, 2008
Lauren E. Simonutti
Line of Sight, 2011
Lauren E. Simonutti
Mad Eyes, 2007
Lauren E. Simonutti
Mirror Between Two Windows, 2008

sold out

Lauren E. Simonutti
Mobile, 2011
Lauren E. Simonutti
Narrative , 2011
Lauren E. Simonutti
None of the Mirrors in this House Work, 2007
Lauren E. Simonutti
Palimpsest, 2012
Lauren E. Simonutti
Piecemeal, 2006
Lauren E. Simonutti
Player Piano, 2008
Lauren E. Simonutti
Recalculate, 2009
Lauren E. Simonutti
Relics, 2009
Lauren E. Simonutti
Resume, 2012
Lauren E. Simonutti
Self-Portrait in B&W, 2011
Lauren E. Simonutti
She Knew the Game Was Fixed but Played Anyway, 2007
Lauren E. Simonutti
She Left a Light on but They Were Never Coming Back, 2007

sold out

Lauren E. Simonutti
Sixth year birthday - me, myself and eye. I blew out the match, these candles were never lit, 2011
Lauren E. Simonutti
Spirit Photograph - Curtain Call, 2012
Lauren E. Simonutti
Spirit Photograph - Departure , 2012
Lauren E. Simonutti
Spirit Photograph - Holding Hands, 2012
Lauren E. Simonutti
Spirit Photograph - No Exit, 2012
Lauren E. Simonutti
Spirit Photograph - Puppet , 2012
Lauren E. Simonutti
Spirit Photograph - The Truth About Mirrors, 2012
Lauren E. Simonutti
Spirit Photograph - Time out of Joint, 2012
Lauren E. Simonutti
St. Vitus, 2008
Lauren E. Simonutti
Suicide Mirror, 2009
Lauren E. Simonutti
The Assistant - Sawn in Half, 2008
Lauren E. Simonutti
The basics of alchemy, anatomy and men's swimwear, 2007
Lauren E. Simonutti
The Eye Detector, 2007
Lauren E. Simonutti
The Eye is the Center, 2011
Lauren E. Simonutti
The Imposter, 2007
Lauren E. Simonutti
The Magician, 2008
Lauren E. Simonutti
The Pendulum Swings , 2008
Lauren E. Simonutti
The Rose is the Anchor, 2009
Lauren E. Simonutti
The Waiting Room, 2010
Lauren E. Simonutti
This House Mirrors Me, 2011
Lauren E. Simonutti
Tinder , 2011
Lauren E. Simonutti
Tomorrow is My Birthday and All My Friends are Here, 2006
Lauren E. Simonutti
Tomorrow is my birthday and I have tired of this room, 2010
Lauren E. Simonutti
Tomorrow is My Birthday and Things are Much the Same, 2007
Lauren E. Simonutti
Trial & Error, 2009
Lauren E. Simonutti
White Thorns, 2007
Lauren E. Simonutti
Windows without a view, 2010
Lauren E. Simonutti
Writer's block, 2010
Lauren E. Simonutti
Year’s End (Blank Page/Recapitulate), 2010