Stephanie Smith and Edward Stewart

Breathing Space

About this artwork

'Breathing Space' comprises two wall-sized video projections, shown at right-angles to each other. The viewer can hear the amplified sound of the constricted breathing of the two figures, as the plastic bags over their heads are sucked in and expelled, rustling noisily. The figures are separated yet united in their struggle. The bizarre scene carries associations of torture, violence and sadomasochism, but it is also visually arresting and full of black humour. Watching the motionless heads in a dark, claustrophobic space, it seems like some sort of game or punishment. Deliberately fraught with contradictions, this seemingly vicious work is about breath - the stuff of life.

  • title: Breathing Space
  • accession number: GMA 4195
  • artist: Stephanie Smith and Edward StewartIrish (Smith born 1968; Stewart born 1961)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Installation
  • subject: Video Art
  • materials: Double colour DVD projection installation, with sound (3/3) 19mins 45sec
  • date created: 1997
  • measurements: Dimensions variable
  • credit line: Purchased 1998
  • copyright: © SMITH/STEWART (STEPHANIE SMITH, EDWARD STEWART)

Stephanie Smith and Edward Stewart

Stephanie Smith and Edward Stewart

Stephanie Smith was born in Manchester and studied at the Slade School of Fine Art, London. Edward Stewart was born in Belfast and studied at Glasgow School of Art. They met in 1991 while studying in Amsterdam and have worked in collaboration since 1992. Their work consists of video projections involving their own bodies, normally focusing on certain body parts and often leaving gender uncertain. The artists explore themes of pain, violence and risk, examining the interdependent relationship of pleasure and pain. Solo shows have been held at the Kunstmuseum Luzern, Portikus in Frankfurt and Inverleith House in Edinburgh, and group shows in San Francisco MoMA, Kunstmuseum Bern, Kunstverein Hannover and the Kunst-Werke Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin. Smith and Stewart live in Glasgow.