“In bed next to a girl he loves, he forgets that he does not know why he is himself instead of the body he touches.” Here, in The Solar Anus (1931), George Bataille describes a meeting – on the private stage of the bed – in which we do not know who is touching who. Am I touching him, or is he touching me? Is this text touching me, or am I touching it? Portraiture, of people and of locations – rendered through the materials of drawing, performance, and film – is at the centre of my practice.
The drawn portraits are representational, large scale, and on paper. They are likenesses of my intimates – of friends, lovers and fellow artists, often sleeping or at ease. The portrait sitting is a one-to-one intimacy, singular and relatively unmediated. It documents a personal ritual which allows – within limits – a hypersociality and an excessive proximity.
My interest is in the intimate: in those things and people that come so close – so proximate – as to easily be mistaken for a part of the self. I am fascinated by the demarcation of intimate space: in the rules, the allowances and the risks; in emotional hygiene; in easy intimacy and its easy breakage.
My film and performance works look at locations coded for particular rituals set apart – the portrait sitting, the tennis court, the theatre, the chapel, the courtroom, the bed, the dinner table. The boundaries of these playing-fields delimit a field of behaviour and norms, distinct from the rest of life. We can step both into and out of their exceptional laws. Even temporary spatial delineations allow fluid, reversible and sanctioned transitions in states of self, the self allowing it-self to become more discrete or more merged, more measured or more unhinged.