Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Room of One’s Own: Artistic Identity through Space OR Art Feng Shui

Recently I have focused my interests onto the idea of the habitat. I have been thinking a lot about how one goes about owning a space. First, the ground and the air above it are bought up and then that air is partitioned with the building of walls and floors: horizontal and vertical lines that help to better define the boundaries. Some of these boundaries are declared living spaces and we sign papers and hand over money to claim them as ours. And within these boundaries we move in, eager to hang our hats, to eat our favorite foods, to make our messes, to live.
We, as people living within this 21st century society, are people that want to highlight our individual-ness. We want to show that we have interests and all one has to do is look around a living room and one will see identity via the posters, books, music, DVD selection. With more subtlety, we also show our preferences in design and taste via furniture, color palette, pets, plants, food to eat. And it is true, I would say that everyone is different and those differences are incredibly valid and can even be what is interesting about someone. But we are looking at the rooms of a person, the residue of a human when they are not there.
So how can art play a major role within a personal space? We cannot deny that the space is functional, so people must be able to continue living their lives but how can you make that space art? This is quite different from adding art to the space. You can paint a picture and hang it on the wall, but how can you turn the space into a painting while maintaining the livability of the room?
Another fascination of mine is Donald Judd and he took the home and turned it into a space that was a permanent installation of his work (see image above. This is just a tiny part of this compound.). He moved from New York to Marfa, Texas and bought airplane hangers that were then turned into living, working and presentation spaces. He turned to building his own furniture and took complete control of the space and how anyone was going to experience it. Judd thought the museum model for the display of art was flawed. Within the space of the museum art comes and goes, at the mercy of the curator and exhibit theme. The impermanence of this set up led Judd to believe that truly understanding art or someone’s work is impossible if not available all the time until the end of time.
Fortunately for Judd, he had the means to take control of his own work and present it in an environment that was to his liking. And those compounds have been preserved and still exist to this day in the way that Judd set them up. Sadly, Marfa is not an easily accessible location so only people who know of Judd and seek out his compound are able to have this experience. So, how can I make my space here art? How can I give art to others buy building something in their space? For their space?
Perhaps this is a roundabout way to get to the ideas of installation and site-specific work, but I am not thinking of these definitions when I think about creation. I am thinking about space. I am thinking about spaces I know. I am thinking about people I know who own spaces. I am thinking about how my creativity is more interested in working on this level than creating something and then putting it on a stage. I am thinking about how galleries and stages and spaces meant for presentation are sterile. And they are sterile for a reason. They are meant to hold many ideas and dreams and projects. So what about going into a space that is truly lived in, mine that energy of the space and work from there?
What I have not developed for my own interest yet is the permanence of these installations. Maybe something I make is meant to be there, but maybe it is fleeting. More and more I am thinking about ideas in different mediums and each medium has a different length of time. Dance, for me, has taken on this translucent quality. I cannot imagine making anything that were to last and really I want it to disintegrate in front of the audience as they watch it. What I do know is that I am interested in the personal and the private. I want to invade these tiny rooms of others and present them with something. I want to take the tiny rooms I inhabit and make worlds. My life is art, so why not live in it?

1 comment:

Sarah A.O. Rosner/The AOMC said...

i've already talked with you about how clearly i think this outlines much of your intent as an artist - so props, again!

But it also reminded me of something that Doug Fox of Great Dance had posted a little while ago. The "message" of it isn't related per-se, but the anecdote he starts of with is, and made me think of your post.