AS AN AUDIENCE WE empathise with a subject, in an exchange with the objects of our gaze: posing a relational question between spectator and spectacle. Exploring the dynamic between staged and artificial forms of time and space with an audience, this second series of images renders visible a few examples of enactments where the box is used as an object to channel suspension in a vacuum. Viewing a subject in a box, or similar cubic structure, has an inherently corporeal effect, creating a parallel, imaginary experience for the viewer. There is the potential for a moment where the viewer is held hostage within themselves, an external, out-of-body sensation.
‘He started to depict specific details in the backgrounds of these works and created a nuanced interaction between subject and setting. Figures are boxed into cage-like structures, delineated ‘space-frames’ and hexagonal ground planes, confining them within a tense psychological zone. In 1952 he described this as ‘opening up areas of feeling rather than merely an illustration of an object’.’
– Text from the Francis Bacon exhibition at Tate Britain in 2009
‘Man is an abyss – you feel giddy when you look into it.’
– ‘Wozzeck’ by Alban Berg
‘The protagonists are observed,’ as the composer Luca Francesconi explained, as if they were ‘… some bugs in a terrarium.’
‘I was looking at it on the monitor, watching everyone trying not to look at themselves. It was a great thing to do in the fashion industry—turn it back on them!’
– Alexander McQueen1
Anna Ellinor Sundström is a photographer, filmmaker and founder of VNIVRS.