Frieze Projects Puts the Focus on Physical Space

Roslyn Sulcas in The New York Times:

Asad Raza

(American, 40)

AsadThese days, people either do live, performative work or create a mise en scène that is empty. When Nicola asked me to something for Frieze, I thought I’d like to create something that includes both elements, but where one thing isn’t dependent on the other. I was interested in the preclassical Greek period, the deep past as a form of science fiction. We don’t know that much about it and have to try to think ourselves into it. I thought about figures that have survived in the imagination until today, and became interested in the Greek god Pan. He has been worshipped for 5,000 years and still echoes in our culture — think of the film “Pan’s Labyrinth,” and ideas about satyrs and nature. Although he was worshiped as a god, he is not powerful, not bigger than humans. He is half-goat, animalistic, and inhabits the same world. We have had a long period of worshipping a deity, in various religions, who is higher, more perfect, unknowable. There was something intriguing to me about the worship of someone who was not that. I decided to make a space that would be like a place where Pan might have been worshipped. There will be a philosopher, a choreographer, a singer and children, who I thought it was important to have there. At times they will all overlap.

The way I’ve furnished it is to use what was to hand. We are in the middle of the park, and I found a tree that was being cut down, from which we will create seating elements and a bookshelf. There are a lot of different things that might happen in the space. The children will learn about Pan and develop ideas with the artists; we are trying to make an oral portrait of this figure from the past. I hope it will be experiential and discursive, a space of imagination. We are interested in the home and the symbology of the domestic space, and what happens when you put the art object in different environments. For Frieze, we thought about the technology of privacy, and how this is changing the domestic environment. We put six bedrooms in the middle of the fair, which wasn’t easy because it’s hard to find space at Frieze! We are all architects — we met when we were studying at the Architectural Association in London — so we used our architectural knowledge to milk a long, narrow space out of the place where the tent is joined together, which usually you don’t see.

More here.