The Cave and The Arena, Maison des arts Georges Pompidou, France

In association with Maison des arts Georges Pompidou, April to July 2014 saw me in residence at Maisons Daura in Saint-Cirq-Lapopie – a small art commune in the Lot Valley of France.

The almost medieval, picturesque village of Saint-Cirq-Lapopie is famed for its quaintness and surrealists like André Breton adopting it as home. I was utterly inspired by the history and beauty of the place, so I immersed myself and the resulting project is ‘The Cave and The Arena’.

‘The Cave and The Arena’ is a performance painting project centred on aspects of Saint-Cirq-Lapopie’s landscape: ‘La grotte de Saint-Géry à Loze’ and ‘Le cirque de Venes à Saint-Cirq Lapopie’ – a cave and an enclosed circular piece of land.

I create a ‘camera tracing mechanism’ hand-crafted from raw cotton canvas and choreograph a series of movements influenced by the imposing spatiality of ‘La grotte de Saint-Géry à Loze’. I enact these movements in the cave, probing in its recesses in the curious hope of discovery – all the while capturing the moving image with the mechanism worn to enable a camera on my shoulder.

At ‘Le cirque de Venes à Saint-Cirq Lapopie’, four slim vertical canvases at 3.5 metres each are prepped with glossy green paint encapsulating deep notions of reflection, as evoked by the village’s connecting ‘Lot river’, absorbing and mirroring shades of its surrounding verdure.

Lead by similar movements enacted in the cave, I create a series of ‘movement paintings’ offering my body as a sort of ‘projection device’ mediating the landscape and sparking new ideas and narratives about public spaces.

The neutral limestone-like colour and sprayed application of the paint overlaid on the green of the canvases, is similar to curious organic growths on stone walls on the river’s paths or the crumbling weathered facades of Saint-Cirq-Lapopie’s cliffs.

Read more about ‘The Cave and The Arena’, 2014