Tisch Abelow at Freddy / Harris

Tisch Abelow / Has Anyone Seen My Personality?

21 October – 18 November, 2023

Harris, NY

When I woke up my apartment was black. The surfaces of the refrigerator, the couch, the kitchen table–everything had calcified into a hard, matte, shell. It was morning and I got out of bed to make tea. When I tried to turn on the burner, I found that the knobs of the stove wouldn’t turn, as if it were a plastic toy and this was all pretend. I began to panic. I thought this must be some sort of cruel joke, but more likely, I was dreaming. I needed to wake up to prove it was adream, but I was wide awake. More rested than I’d been in a long time. But if I was awake, it must be real. I attempted to take photos to have proof that this was actually happening, but my phone malfunctioned. I couldn’t prove it was real or a dream and a deep confusion began to envelop my sense of self. Would I calcify into this hardened, frozen surface, devoid of identity?

I wondered how I was going to make it to my opening if I lost the ability to turn the door knob and leave my apartment. I thought perhaps I should change my name to another artist’s name since I didn’t seem to know who I was anymore. Maybe Joe, something nondescript.

I walked into my bedroom and two of my friends were sitting on my bed talking. They were merely silhouettes against the backdrop of my now stiffened black sheets and pillows.

“Has anyone seen my personality?” I asked.

“When was the last time you had it?”

I paused. The question seemed to validate that it was, in fact, missing. I wondered how they could tell.

“Where is it going, where has it been?” the other friend asked.

My memory was fuzzy, nearly blank.

“I don’t recall,” I said. If I couldn’t remember, maybe I never had one. There was something weirdly comforting about that idea. If I didn’t have a personality to begin with, I couldn’t lose it. The sense of panic began to fade.

I looked down at my bare feet. I tried to walk back into the kitchen but my soles were glued to the floor, which had morphed from hardwood into slick, black, steel. I watched as my toes began to harden into some sort of synthetic plastic. It was almost willful as I let this new, unmovable texture consume my body. Could I wake myself up or was I trapped?

Tisch Abelow( b. 1985) earned her BA from Sarah Lawrence College in 2007 and her MA fromNew York Graduate School of Psychoanalysis in 2020. She lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.