deposit no. 38 \ 2010
The frames used in this series are of true value, cut from a respected collection of teleshopping cardboards, well known throughout the TV Shop and Top Shop networks – almost as valuable as an 18th century Chateau Lafite wine.
“deposit no. 38” is a phenomena that most of us don’t understand. It can be explained through the “fear of not having” or safety of knowing that you have your back covered. It isn’t a sick habit, but a form of protection.
L is born in the same year as Elvis Presley, near Kansk, a small Siberian town. Although she is far away from the war, she feels the hunger of the 1942-1946 period. A cup of flour that is transformed into a pancake saves her life at the age of 8.
After she finishes high school, she gives up her dream of studying film at the Leningrad University, being strongly marked by the fear of hunger.
Thus, she chooses the Food Chemistry department of the Chemistry Faculty, part of the same University, thinking that she wouldn’t have a problem in finding food if she worked in a dairy factory (and she also liked ice cream a lot).
She arrives in Bucharest after she falls in love with a romanian student, that came with a scholarship to Leningrad in order to study in the same department. She gets married at 22 years old.
In 1958 she starts working as a food engineer at the Institute of Study and Industrialisation of Milk, in Bucharest. Two years later, she moves to the Dairy Plant - in the same city.
She gives birth to two girls. In 1973 she is forced to retire prematurely (at only 38) because of an advanced state of myopia (very poor eyesight). She becomes a guide specialized in Russian at the National Tourism Office in order to have the money necessary to raise her daughters.
In 1977 she gets divorced. She starts collecting jars and bottles in order to sell them to glass collection centers. In 1985 she buys a new washing machine, after a 1958 model breaks down. She cannot part from the useless washing machine, despite its inutility, so she transforms it in a sort of museum work of art and deposites it in a bedroom. After 1989, the plastic wave of capitalism invades the capital city of Romania (at first through plastic bags). She starts collecting them. She also continues her business with bottles and jars, this time selling them to the market merchants. She keeps all the dairy recipients (yogurt, buttermilk, cream, Finetti, etc.). Soon, her kitchen closet becomes overcrowded.
The wholesale era lands in Bucharest. Shopping is transformed from necessity to pleasure. A sort of a hunter’s obsession – something like a price scout. The “Yellow Pages” catalogue is printed. She gathers every year’s edition. She supplies herself with new household assets, but she cannot part with the old ones, which she still continues to use (the new ones are bought “just in case”. The new household electronics soon become old without even being used, while other high tech devices are bought. The two bedrooms of the 3 room apartment soon become the hosts of the products, spaces meant for depositing.
In 1998 she buys a LG color TV (while the old “Diamant”, broken, is retiring in the the cool bedroom that is close to the kitchen). In 2000 she acquires a new stove, which she doesn’t use – the old one is still in good shape. She manages to find room for it in the kitchen, hiding the gas cooker behind the kitchen closet (as a back-up solution).
The Carrefour hyper-markets land on Bucharest’s business airport, bringing with them an even higher passion for consumerism. Catalogues are printed, that present the products on offer. L looks at them as true magazines, and starts debating their content and supplying her relatives with the lates editions (Carrefour, Mediagalaxy, Mega Image, etc).
In 2002 she acquires the third washing machine, after the 1985 model breaks down (she won’t give up the second and neither the first, bought while Hrusciov was still in office). The living room becomes the only livable chamber.
Teleshopping invades television. Fascinated, L watches the commercials like true shows. The use of psychological pricing and the undoubtable belief that each product is a one in a lifetime deal brings to life her true shopaholic nature, in its raw form. Before, only the two bedrooms, the kitchen and the tight hallway were used as deposit rooms – now the living room falls victim to the “cardboard installations”.
From the large quantity of products (over 40), she only uses two – Kosmodisk and Thomas, the vacuum cleaner – the other ones remain packed – because she doesn’t need them.
After a while, without having any other space left to deposit, she offers ten products to her family members. They agree to take some of the products, thinking that the visible and tangible effects of the absurd overdose have made her think about rehabilitation.
Six months later, TV Shop’s deposit will be 10 products short. In 2008, a neighbor changes the entrance door and is about to throw the old one away. L asks him if he would agree to give her the door in order to swap her’s with this one (although they had the same age, L’s model was in a much more poor condition). Attached to the old door, she is unable to say goodbye to it and makes a statue of it, which she places it in the kitchen.