Space with Figure is an appropriation of Vermeer’s The Milkmaid, where a woman standing inside a domestic space pours milk into a container. This simple action demonstrates the historical relationship between the female body and housework, a recurrent theme in the Western pictorial tradition, in which women are relegated to a passive role within art history. This is chiefly seen in pre-twentieth century periods, where women’s presence as artists was practically nil. Thus, a great many paintings point to a feminine world observed by a male figure: the painter.

The performance has two parts. The first features the woman pouring milk into a container in an action that appears unending, rendering this simple action unbearable. The second part is a video circuit, with the action reproduced on a monitor. There, the captured image is superimposed on Vermeer’s painting, seeking to adjust to it as if trying to follow a pattern that has historically been imposed on it.

In this work, I propose a reflection on the notion of that which is feminine and its link to the domestic sphere. As this sphere has been culturally, socially, and politically devalued, women have had to struggle fiercely for equality. The domestic space in this sense has lost its importance as a meeting space where one may establish an order and logic centered on affection. Indeed, it is in the interior of one’s house where the noise of the world and its hustle and bustle melt away. This, then, allows men and women to engage in self-dialogue, and, in so doing, affirmation and recognition.


Space with Figure
Performance and video
Dimensions variable