Exchange House

The work which I have done as a result of being artist in residence at Herbert Smith is inspired by the Exchange House itself, in particular the foyer. In the Exchange House we see, in engineering terms, a fusion of Victorian methods of building and twenty-first century use of materials. The foyer’s design incorporates two architectonic periods: first the Renaissance, as it is built on a Cross plan, secondly the 20th-century modernist tradition of purism and clarity, in whose utopian use of glass we encounter a relationship of transparencies, reflections, and the breakdown of the interior and exterior, the public and the private – all subjects of contemporary debate. A reference point is the modern and revolutionary architectonic approach of Mies van der Rohe.

In the glass wall of the foyer, glass becomes a membrane which allows you to pass from the exterior to the interior, the private to the public sector. The reflectiveness of the glass wall introduces geometric patterns which reflect as much its own space as the surranding area. In this sense glass plays two roles, one transparency, a passage; meanwhile the glass box, in its reflective luminosity, attracts the surroundings elements.

A utopian space is formed by these dual functions: reflection and transparency. I decide to work with this utopian, even fantastic, element of the space. My photographic body of work oscillate between the actual reality-the physicality of the space itself – and the utopian meaning imbued in the glass wall. The fantasy is created by the reflections, which show a virtual space, a parallel dimension which can only be reached through the virtual space reconstructed by the quality of the glass.

Artist-in-residence at Herbert Smith - Exchange House; programmed by the Whitechapel art gallery and Art & Business. London 2001/2002