The awkward posture and poignant rhythms of the sitting figure are designed to convey the intense emotions of a woman in the grip of a phobia. The depiction of her state is strengthened with contrasting colours in the dominating black and the light ochre of the details. The outward curve of the spine is contrasted with the sharp lineaments of pale bent arms, the elongated oval of the face contorted with fear, and the slightly-bevelled corners of the shaky plinth. The woman’s head, turned as if in reaction to an imagined signal of alarm, is very expressive. The details of the face are barely shaped – only the peaky nose is brought into relief and the tragic curves of the eye-brows are traced with a resolute stroke. Given the overall lack of detail in the sculpture, these highlights appear as metaphors of a great emotional voltage, somewhat resembling the ancient Greek mask of tragedy (Melpomene). The enclosing gesture of the woman’s arms originates from her desire to insulate herself from external disturbances, to protect herself against an unknown danger. The indeterminate source of this anxiety warrants a description of the woman as someone with an obvious psychological disequilibrium developing into a real phobia.


Brief annotations to the image

PHOBIA is an irrational uncontrollable fear that irreversibly sharpens in certain circumstances and makes the person in its grip avoid certain objects, types of activity or situations fraught with imagined danger. Irrational dislike for, antagonism against or hatred of something are called phobias as well – fear as an emotion is present in these sentiments in hidden form.