We’ve talked discussed documenting journals, libraries, and the artist themselves, but do we ever consider the environment these items live in? Living/working environments influence our actions on the daily, and in a way are the biggest reflection of our personality. Continuing with my previous thoughts of collecting the mundane, looking at the physical space of an artist shows us not only how the artist works, but what materiality is in their sphere of influence. For example, Belén shared a work space with her partner, Bruno. In a shared environment, the lines of what belongs to who is blurred, could Bruno’s process influence Belén in that way as well? When we look closer at a space, we can begin to understand how documenting physical spaces of an artist brings further insight to the artstic process.
Belén had three work spaces spread across Lisbon. The main studio we worked out of during my time was the Council Studio, a government appointed space, where she split the space with Bruno. Her second space was located in the heart of the old city square, sharing alongside a woodworker, where she would develop silicone molds. However, the third work space was the most unique, as it provided the backbone of her glasswork. Through a special relationship with the university’s staff and students, Belén had access to the ceramics studio Vicarte at the Nova School of Science & Technology of the Universidade de Lisboa. From the silicone molding studio, to the gas furnace, this environment was purely where the work was created. “It is very important to me,” Belén would tell me, “the kiln is where the work is made.” While the studio spaces in Lisbon served as a place for conception and development, documenting this space was also documenting the tools and detailed process of glass making.