BY MILLY ZIETHEN
I think it’s fair to say art plays a predominant role in CuratorSpace artist Victoria Lucas’s life. She not only works as an artist but is also a Senior Lecturer of Fine Art at the University of Central Lancashire and a board member of Bloc Projects. As if all that wasn’t enough, alongside creating artwork Lucas is also reading a PhD in Philosophy at Sheffield Hallam. The Sheffield-based artist is presenting ‘The Hitchcock Staircase’ at the CuratorSpace Digital Art Exhibition as part of Leeds Digital Festival 2018. Lucas works with video, photography, sound, sculpture, installation and performance. In 2004 she received her BA in Fine Art, specialising in sculpture, from the Norwich School of Art, and her MA in Fine Art from The University of Leeds just a few years later.
Complimenting her wide range of interests, including philosophy, Lucas is specifically concerned with the chimerical potential of space – whether physical, digital or cinematic. She documents, fabricates and reconstructs places using digital and sculptural means as a way to reposition socially-constructed identities, seeking to reveal new spaces through her artwork construction using video, photography, sound, sculpture, installation and performance as material, Lucas explains.
Reflecting on her experiences and places she has seen, Lucas’s imagination is sparked by physical encounters, like a place or landscape, which she includes her work. Urban sites inspire the most intrigue, with underground tube stations, hotel rooms, markets and wastelands, all featuring in her work.
Another central motif in her recent bodies of work is women’s experiences of place and space, particularly in relation to the current global movement to reclaim space, ideologies and identity for women and the LGBTQ community.
“The Hitchcock Staircase” is a short video that explores site as an object of temporary suspense, à la film director Alfred Hitchcock’s classic vintage thrillers. The staircase itself is situated in the Pan American Loft Apartments on Broadway in downtown LA, which was rumoured to have been featured in many of Hitchcock’s films. Lucas spent a reasonable amount of time in search of evidence of this, concluding the infamous staircase was likely an urban myth (possibly created to sell more apartments!).
‘I became really intrigued by this myth, and began considering the staircase as a site for performance,’ explained the artist, who was fascinated by its incredible noise. ‘Every movement made upon these stairs results in a loud creak as the wood shifts under the user’s weight.’
With the staircase recreating an air of Hitchcockian noir, an attempt to climb these stairs without making a sound became a playful metaphor for other notions of avoidance – avoidance of the male gaze, for example.
“The Hitchcock Staircase” is not only an artwork it is also a piece of research.
It wouldn’t be a stretch to say this young artist can already call herself successful. Lucas is an artist known all over the world, exhibiting at Grizzly Grizzly in Philadelphia, 91mq Gallery in Berlin, and Casa Maauad in Mexico City. She has also been lauded as a favourite at home, with her work shown across the UK – including London, Manchester, and Sheffield – and won the SOLO award in 2016, and entries in the Tate Archive, the MOMA New York and the V&A collection, among others.
Even though Lucas is very active in the art world, her work towards her PhD is sure to keep her occupied over the summer. However driven by her love of exploring new projects, the artists already has several exciting projects in the pipeline – including a new video work that she is currently devising.
If you don’t want to wait that long to see something new, her recent commissions include a permanent touchscreen artwork for the NHS Wilberforce Health Centre in Hull, and a video artwork for the National Portrait Gallery in London.
Stay up to date with Victoria Lucas’s work by checking out her website here