In “Half-Built House,” Brazilian-American artist Laura Taylor grieves the loss of her childhood friend Tina to COVID. When COVID took Tina’s life, Taylor started ordering identical versions of their childhood games and toys on eBay. As she assembled these objects, Taylor recalled a memory of climbing with Tina through the skeletal frameworks of unfinished houses in the 1970s. Late at night, the girls would pick their way through floorless rooms and speculate about their future inhabitants.
In this spirit of imaginative experimentation, Taylor began taking apart her eBay acquisitions. Gathering, breaking, sawing, splicing, painting, gluing, layering, and reassembling these toys became, for her, a way to probe the complicated nature of a lost friendship and to explore the multidimensional nature of grief. Ultimately, Taylor built the framework of an unfinished house to evoke those she once explored with Tina. Taylor describes the house as a “container for grief.” Its interior features artifacts composed of deconstructed toys, handwritten letters, oil paint, family photographs, and broken vinyl records.