I was recently invited to perform ‘Shekinah Glory‘ in the glass cube, at The Oxford Art Factory, over two nights for their Free Fall program. It was accompanied by text (which I have since expanded upon) explaining the work:
For this performance I stood in a glass cube, surrounded by smoke, with my face covered in gold leaf and illuminated by a spotlight. The title, Shekinah Glory, refers to the Hebrew concept for the divine presence or dwelling of God. This presence is manifested in a number of ways throughout the scriptures, most notably residing within the Holy of Holies.
Through this performance I was dealing with the intersection of the divine and the profane, partially inspired by the location of the Glass Cube within the Oxford Art Factory. I also aimed to articulate my own view of the artist as one who channels and reflects the divine light of revelation.
Covering my face in gold leaf was a way of engaging with the esoteric reading of alchemy which understands the transmutation of lead into gold as an analogy for personal transformation or purification. In biblical terms, being in the presence of the Shekhinah glory so transformed Moses that the skin of his face shone with light. This gilding is also a reference to a work by the German conceptual artist, Joseph Beuys, who in many ways embodies the role of artist as alchemist.