Shekinah Glory (2011)

I was invited to perform as part of Free Fall at the Oxford Art Factory, Darlinghurst. For this performance I stood in a glass cube, surrounded by smoke, with my face covered in gold leaf and illuminated by a spotlight.

Photography: Yiorgos Zafiriou.

The title of this performance 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. In the book of Exodus the author writes that after the prophet Moses spent time in the presence of the Shekhinah glory his face shone with light. Covering my face in gold leaf was a way of engaging with these biblical stories of the presence of God as well as esoteric interpretations of alchemy which understand the transmutation of lead into gold as an analogy for personal transformation or purification. 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/prophet.