Silent “Cells”, 2020, Aluminum pills’ blisters, aluminum sheets, plexiglass, silicone, acrylic transparent tubes filled with aluminum foils (waste of medicines’ packaging), led light, cable, 210 x 85 x 10,5 cm
Many contemporary artists like Damien Hirst, Joanna Rajkowska and Marc Quinn use materials related to the pharmaceutical industry, in order to comment on the fragile, ephemeral and self-destructive side of human existence, as well as on the relation of society with medicines, which has its roots in the ancient times.
Likewise, Peggy Kliafa works mostly with drugs and their packaging. Her sculpture Silent Cells (2020), created during the COVID-19 pandemic, is a natural size closed prison door, made out of blister packs. Inside the Plexiglass bars of the small window, remains of these packs can be detected. The “strong” door is placed on the wall, and in coordination with the light that comes out of its window, gives the illusion of a space that exists behind it.
The English word “cells” in the title, offers a double meaning to the artwork. It is referred to the prison cells and the body cells. For Kliafa “a door is a limit and a symbol of duality, just as the drugs can be therapeutic and poisonous at the same time.” The work deals with the different forms of confinement and imprisonment, the visible and invisible bars and the bolted doors that isolate us from our environment. The continuous and increasing shift of people to psychotropic drugs and sedatives, on the one hand offers tranquility to the body cells, but on the other, often leads to a cloaked addiction, a form of internal imprisonment.
Kliafa’s door, based on the human scale, reminds us that people are called to rediscover the measure, which according to the philosopher Protagoras from Avdira, has at its center the human being. They have to lean on their own strength, away from substitutes and crutches. The person that “dwells” behind the drugs is the real measure of knowledge and truth, the “light” that spreads inside the cell and fights to come forward.