From the comfort of your home
23.08 – 11.09 2022
My current office is surrounded by kitchen utensils, a washing machine, a small refrigerator, piles of books, two or three candles, four plants, a mirror, a green dame-jeanne, a wooden wardrobe, a smoked glass and black metal coffee table, a couple of vases with or without flowers and a convertible sofa. Despite its surroundings, the actual surface of my office is somewhat of a small island composed of an ugly bistro table scavenged from the street, a half-broken wooden chair and a velvet cushion to avoid a sore butt. This tiny island floating between the kitchen and the living room, facing two fairly large windows, has been my workplace for a year. This is where I take most of my phone calls, my video calls, where I write, read, laugh and cry behind my laptop, pretty much every day.
Lisa Sudhibhasilp’s former studio in Amsterdam was located in a vacant store within a large shopping centre. After two years, its precarious lease ended when the space was rented to Getir, an online grocery delivery company, to serve as storage. It has become common to place artists in former commercial spaces. Followed by the gentrification of the district and the arrival of new and more profitable businesses.
In the morning, my office is where I have my breakfast and where I smoke my first cigarette. In the evening, the desk becomes a dining table. It also sometimes becomes a music station or a movie theatre for one person. One night I brought an extra chair into my office for him. There, we kissed.
The view from my office used to be different. Large bay windows overlooking a street in Belsunce. Cafes, terraces, trees, garbage bins, shop displays, people and neighbours passing by. My island was a large white USM table, a nice metal chair, or a cheap wooden chair, depending on the day. The view from my office today overlooks six other homes. Linens drying, people lying in bed, a sweet hour of aperitif, others cooking and eating shirtless. That also depends on the day. Sometimes I miss the sight of my old office. I miss being able to close the front metal curtain and call it a day. It was never too intimate, let alone private. It only served as a workspace. What makes me most nostalgic is the moment of going home…
This former apartment occupied by Bruit de Fond was no longer used for living, but for working. Through multiple layers of torn wallpapers, time is not only readable, but physically demonstrates change. The function of spaces has changed over time. In general, during the pandemic, private and public spaces have become intertwined, increasing the demand for production and work efficiency at home. These changes affecting what we consider a “home” go hand in hand with the lack of space, the precariousness of labour and the change in the values of a capitalised culture.
For this exhibition, Lisa began to obsessively reproduced tomette tiles, which are commonly found in homes in Marseille and Provence. The tomettes represent a certain lifestyle as well as an attachment to traditions and have acquired great value over the last decades. The handmade tiles, bearing certain slogans and texts, become a floor to look at and in an absurd attempt, they question what makes a home a home.
In order to avoid the experience of constant but unintentional glaring from my so-called ‘distant neighbours’ through the two constantly open windows, neighbourhood cafes with electrical outlets became my temporary office. Two months of summer in extreme heat waves has brought extra-charges added to the rent, – from five to thirteen euros each time for drinks or snacks. It was often in this temporary office that we worked with Lisa, remotely, through a screen that led us to share another momentary space. We finally met at 42 Rue Consolat in the middle of August.
The texts on the walls are what Lisa calls ‘Advertisement Poems’, inspired by food delivery company catchphrases or work-from-home slogans. The immateriality of the light from her studio in Maastricht, painted on the vertical blinds typically used in office spaces, slips into Bruit de Fond. The empty apartment reveals its different uses over time, and until today, becoming on this occasion an exhibition space. It constitutes the context of the installation while being an integral part of the work. These elements brought back by Lisa that required intense manual work are another layer of time and labour added for the first time in thirty-five years in this space. They will also disappear at the end of the exhibition, but will certainly leave one more trace, that of the inks smeared on the wallpapers.
Won Jin Choi in conversation with Lisa Sudhibhasilp
Lisa Sudhibhasilp, From the comfort of your home, installation views and details, Bruit de Fond x Belsunce Projects, Marseille, 2022
Photographs courtesy of Lisa Sudhibhasilp, Bruit de Fond and Belsunce Projects.