This cabinet looks like an apartment building. It is delicate but stands firm and proud. It looks familiar but is one of a kind. At night, the street light outside shines softly on the metal handles and the 'building' seems to flicker with life. During the day, the thing is revealed for what it used to be: storage space for the equipment and materials of a bicycle repair shop.
Artefacts transform through time. They wear, move and change hands. Its usage might change, as well as its meaning or emotional connotations. The first time I laid eyes upon this cabinet building, I was intrigued by its bric-a-brac qualities. Different wooden textures and colours show additions and mutations. It is self-made out of pieces of mahogany, plywood, paper and metal. It holds 81 boxes, 23 labels (some loose, one broken), 89 nails and 190 screws. Although the cabinet is heavy and full of rough edges, it appears so light and elegant. Maybe it is the slightly curved left leg that does the trick.
The cabinet is a practical building. It used to be stuffed with screws, bags, pins, nails, rags, wrenches, brushes, tubes and other materials to support the handyman. Now, it stands in the corner of a private living room. It is in a warm place, flanked by the marble frame of the fireplace and the curtains of a front bay window, and full of homely artefacts. There are boxes for specific things: some have dices, playing cards or postcards, others are used to store candles, lighters and matches, sunglasses, batteries and jewellery. Many boxes are empty, others have never even been opened. Some contain things long forgotten.
Artefacts change, as do personal preoccupations. As an adolescent, lost in the 1990's, I despised objects as too materialistic. Now, I seek comfort in things. They hold memories and remind me of all the beautiful things yet to come.