Research psychologists have categorized four different attachment styles in adult intimate relationships that take shape in childhood and function throughout life. Rad Hourani draws inspiration from this when creating a series of four sculptures. In using objects equated with physical protection and in connection with the psychological attachment styles of individuals, the crossover between theoretical notions and their real-life implications is made possible.
A "secure" individual acts by counting on the love and support of others in times of need. They are comfortable with intimacy, commitment, and connectedness and have great flexibility, good listening skills, and positive communication practices. They are comfortable with their sexuality and are in harmony with themselves and those around them. It is the repetitive pattern created by the belt buckles in "SECURE" that further evokes a relationship based on balanced exchanges and openness. As belt buckles are traditionally used to attach two ends, the solid metal object is made to restore feelings of confidence, protection, and security.
An "avoidant" individual struggles with vulnerability in order to protect themselves from potential injury. Avoiding conflict, they prefer long-distance relationships so as to maintain their independence. Often dissatisfied with their marital relationship and comfortable with non-committal sexual activities, they tend to lack expressions of tenderness. "AVOID" highlights our use of gloves, which act as protection from potential harm. Worn as a pair but presented as separate, the analogy of an uncommitted couple materializes itself. Here, the fingers do not cross, illustrating one's lack of dependence, while the covered hands represent the inability to reveal oneself and express emotion.
As for the "anxious" individual, they are in constant need of attention, affection, and the approval of others. Yearning for reassurance, they seek sexual intimacy. Albeit oftentimes found in relationships, most remain unsatisfied by their choice of partner. The zipper in "ATTACH" depicts the contradiction between the state of being single or in a couple and the signs of dependence, expressing one's anxiety about abandonment. A zipper is an intricate and cluttered device, similar to an individual's inner struggle with emotion, often revealing in an excessive and invasive way, evoking a reluctance to listen while being hyper-vigilant to signs of conflict as a possibility of rupture.
The "Fearful" shows people owning a self-worth absent of merit, affecting their ability to be assertive and loved. Keeping their partner at a distance, they fear rejection and lack trust and comfort in intimate relations. "HIDE" opts for epaulettes, an ornament once invented for the purpose of fighting, further projecting an image of power. The shoulder pads aim not only to protect the physical body but also the psyche of those individuals who do not believe in themselves as competent beings able to support their partner. Applied in layers, epaulettes symbolize a camouflage of emotions, corresponding to their deep fear of closeness and their inability to confide. Further used in battle, epaulettes embody an introvert's tendency to compensate for poor communication skills and anticipation of rejection with violence.
These four artworks further inspire questions of:
- Whether humans are born universally neutral, prior to facing interactions eliciting positive and negative consequences ?
- Whether individuals are able to identify with multiple attachment styles at once, with some still not recognized by psychologists ?
- The possibility to evolve in a secure environment without occurrences of instability and prolonged negative experiences? If not, is it achievable to reverse all adverse effects induced by unfortunate circumstances ?
- The media's effect on children's attachment status, by means of the constant portrayal of threatening news? Does a parent's absence affect a child's development, when they are overworked and unable to provide a consistent upbringing ?
- Whether an optimal attachment style is attainable when aware of our different protective tendencies? If it is further possible to restructure the concept of a neutral mentality ?
Ultimately, as a reflection on the automatism that exists in society by categorizing people with divisive psycho-social labels, Rad Hourani frames the artworks so as to retain a symbol of the programmed interactions that govern our daily lives.
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SECURE - 2021
METAL BELT BUCKLE, LACQUER PAINT ON CANVAS, THREAD, GLUE
81.6 X 106.8 X 10.15 CM ( 32.125” X 42.06” X 4” ) EDITION 1/1
AVOID – 2022
LEATHER GLOVES, ZIPPER, FOAM, LACQUER PAINT ON CANVAS, THREAD, GLUE
81.6 X 106.8 X 17.8 CM ( 32.125” X 42.06” X 7” ) EDITION 1/1
ATTACH – 2022
ZIPPER, LACQUER PAINT ON CANVAS, THREAD, GLUE
81.6 X 106.8 X 12.7 CM ( 32.125” X 42.06” X 5” ) EDITION 1/1
HIDE – 2022
FOAM SHOULDER PAD, LACQUER PAINT ON CANVAS, THREAD, GLUE
81.6 X 106.8 X 15.25 CM ( 32.125” X 42.06” X 6” ) EDITION 1/1