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artist statement

What happens when we spend time in a place? Can everyday activities such as waiting, texting, standing, being lost, walking fast, be “performative”? Can we “choreograph” everyday life?


My work focuses on the concepts of space awareness and perception. I use installation, photography, video, and printmaking to activate spaces. My background in dance has deeply influenced my practice, bringing to the visual arts relevant questions on stage, such as: How can I move across this space? How do I perceive it? Space awareness, an inner consciousness of being, links space and human being as a single entity. Bollnow (1) calls it space consciousness; E. Strauss (2) calls it dance space.

I consider space as a material to produce work. In site-specific pieces, features of the space may be integrated in the work itself. In print series, I use photography and printmaking processes to produce images departing from spatial and architectural concerns. In both approaches I use staying in a place as a methodology: by spending time, a heightened awareness of a space is achieved. This process enables me to re-consider preconceived notions of space, investigate relationships between different elements (in the urban sphere or in the paper), and re-imagine our surroundings.

I associate Space with Spectatorship in a process geared towards activating spaces. Where Are You? (2012) is an installation with two video cameras feeding live to monitors turned sideways. The work creates a certain estrangement; one is compelled to move within the space in order to understand it. A stage is created, and the spectator becomes a performer without fully acknowledging this role: the installation is only completed when the viewer interacts with the work.

In “Everything changes so quickly” (video, 2013), I worked with a group of dancers investigating spaces through movement in urban locations. In the film, performers stand still in a busy street for several minutes. Stillness brings visibility to what is already there, but invisible or unseen. The fine line between reality and performance disintegrates, and passers-by become actors in an invisible play. In the camera frame, the street becomes a stage of the everyday, as Yvonne Rainer and Judson Dance Theatre addressed in the 1960’s.

The work is highly influenced by Minimalism, in particular, by its theatrical approach to the relationship between the viewer and the artwork, as Michael Fried argues (3). I am interested in engaging with the physicality of the spectator fostering an active spectator, and in integrating the act of experiencing the work in the work itself. My practice is grounded on Merleau-Ponty’s theories on phenomenology and perception (4), E. Strauss’s ideas on movement (2), and Heidegger’s notion of Being-in-the-world (5).

My work draws notions from dance and theatre to address space in the visual arts. My theater teacher once said: to understand the mind through the body. In my practice, I aim to take this theme further as to understand the mind through space awareness. And perhaps, to use Lefebvre’s words, I take my aim further by fostering “a change in a place’s surroundings […] to precipitate an object’s passage into the light: what was covert becomes overt, what was cryptic becomes limpidly clear”(6).

References

(1) Bollnow, O. F., Human space. J. Kohlmaier (ed.), trans. C. Shuttleworth, London, Hyphen Press, 2011.
(2) Strauss, E. W., ‘The forms of spatiality’ in Phenomenological psychology: the selected papers of Erwin W. Strauss, trans. E. Eng, London, Tavistock Publications, 1966, pp. 3 - 37.
(3) Fried, M., ‘Art and objecthood’ in Art and objecthood: essays and reviews. Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1998, pp. 148 - 172.
(4) Merleau-Ponty, M., The world of perception. London, Routledge, 2004.
(5) Heidegger, M., Being and Time. Tran. J. Stambaugh, Albany, State University of New York Press, 1996.
(6) Lefebvre, H., The production of space. Trans D. Nicholson-Smith, Oxford, Blackwell Publishing, 1991, p. 183.