I'm currently creating work using wood about having a breakdown. I'm tying the meaning to the work directly with the process I go through when creating the sculptures.
I start by using a saw on a piece of wood that I have recently chopped from a growing tree, cutting far enough into it so that I can then snap off part of the wood with my hands. I then burn the snapped off piece of wood and replace it with glue. Within this process I'm making a range of conscious decisions as well as one unconscious one.
The sawing part of the work is conscious, leading up to the breakdown, knowing it's coming, but not knowing at what point it will. The snap is unconscious, as I can't control how it's going to break, this is true for the breakdown, being unable to control it. The burning of the wood is conscious, allowing the breakdown to overwhelm you, making you feel worse. The gluing back on is conscious too, the beginning of learning to live with what's happened to you. But the glue is only a temporary thing, so at points within the person's life the wood will be dislodged, bringing up old memories about the breakdown and re-lapsing into old habits. This cycle continues.
I'm still refining the meaning of the work. I'm also working on the scale of the sculptures and thinking about whether they should be a series displayed in a grid pattern on the wall. I'm also considering making contrasting work centered around a positive thing occurring in your life, and having that embedded within the breakdown pieces.