Space is of double significance to me; you have the space of the audience and the space of the performer. These are very distinct. The space of the audience, firstly, is the architectural framework I’m offering to the public for their interaction with the subject matter. It’s the most important space for me, and it’s in no way mine. My first question when constructing an artwork is always going to be, what does this induce in any given body that’s going to walk through it? Good art meets you where you are, full stop. I think that’s important to consider in how you structure something like performance. Making a space that feels universal, accessible, functional and legible to a wide audience requires a lot of precise calculations. If that isn’t clear from the get-go, you risk self-indulgence.
Then, there’s the space of the performer. This is much more free-flowing. It varies in dimensions, depth, and opacity. Marina Abramović calls it a ‘charismatic space’ and I love that. It implies this liminal, viscous state that can change entirely on the terms of one’s bodily automatisms. The interstice between these two overlapping spheres is, I believe, where that sacred energetic exchange between audience and performer lives.
I consider it an artist’s responsibility to immerse the public in some form or fashion. I’m really in awe of artists who are able to achieve that with a two-dimensional plane. I remember seeing this tiny Lee Ufan painting once in a palazzo in Venice, it was the size of a paperweight and had a single mark in the centre of it half the size of a fingernail, yet the way it was composed completely arrested my senses all the same. The reaction it gave me was so physical and all-consuming – I don’t know how to do that with a painting.
What I do understand, though, is how to manipulate the human body by knowing exactly what it is about a space that makes it respond. Lately, I’ve been working to build spaces up using bodies, plants, animals and minerals all in tight symbiosis with the brick-and-mortar of a room. I want them to become codependent and indissociable from one another. I know that my strength lies in my personal sensitivity to knowing instinctively what makes an architectural proposition resonate with human anatomy.