In contextualising my paintings I’ve made complicated installations that involve sculpture, song, video and collaboration.
I was trying to make bigger environments for my work to live in and give them a place in the world. I started to use architectural devices to organise different things and ‘Alien Sex Club’ (‘ASC’) grew out of that. It was based on my experience of going to places of cruising in London and thinking, “What is this spatially? How does this exist?”
I researched ‘ASC’ as a PhD within a faculty of architecture, which may seem counter-intuitive, but actually it was a great way of investigating all of the spatial properties of the spaces of cruising. That became a way of unlocking HIV and all of the subject matters that it contained.
‘ASC’ is a maze based on this idea of a sex club, sauna or gay bathhouse. The idea of a cruise maze is an emblem more than a reality. There’s something aphrodisiacal about the idea of a maze, because it’s a space you can get lost in.
‘ASC’ is a space where you can meet lots of different strangers in safety. When you’re in the installation you are bombarded on all fronts – it’s playful, it’s not scary, it’s not dark.
Everything is quite shonky, and by shonky I mean visually awkward.
There’s an allowance for things to be slightly scruffy and a vocabulary that joins it all together. It becomes a kind of satire on HIV, to make a point and to exaggerate the issue. My way of dealing with things is to say, “We can laugh about it and we can talk about it seriously at the same time.”