A series of dyed and layered canvas panels attached to a tubular steel structure form a new architecture for Objectspace’s courtyard plinth in Lapping at Your Door.

Emma Fitts’ soft architecture folds together various research threads: modernist design, the body in relation to built environments and the construction of clothing, and how queer physicality can be expressed through the collapsing of architectural space.

Between 1926 — 1929 Eileen Gray designed and constructed E-1027 on the coastline of the Côte d'Azur in the south of France. The front façade of this iconic piece of modernist architecture is spanned by a canvas canopy, its textile softness creating a porous threshold where delineation between spaces is softened.

Gray’s canopies serve as an example of the architectural and design developments made by women who both practiced within and subverted historical cannons. For Fitts’, these designs embody the desires of their creators and occupants. They are a backdrop for socialising and conversation in open space — often in radical ways, and in queer company.

Referencing these histories and the architecture of her own home, Fitts' has constructed an outdoor installation incorporating her signature fabric banners. In Lapping at Your Door, she imagines how bodies of space that resist clear demarcation provide alternative ways of seeing and making.

About the artist:

Emma Fitts’ practice moves across the disciplines of painting, photography and sculpture. Fitts studied Fine Art at the University of Canterbury, Ōtautahi, prior to Masters study at the Glasgow School of Art, Scotland.

Major solo presentations of Fitts' work include In the Rough: Parts 1, 2 & 3 at Te Uru (2019) and From Pressure to Vibration: The Event of a Thread at The Dowse (2017).

Fitts returned to Ōtautahi in 2014 as the Olivia Spencer Bower recipient, was a McCahon House resident for winter 2018 and completed the Fulbright-Wallace residency at The Headlands Center for the Arts, California, USA in 2019. She is represented by Melanie Roger Gallery.

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With the presentation of Emma Fitts: Lapping at Your Door, Objectspace welcome the Jan Warburton Charitable Trust as the partner for our Courtyard Plinth Commissions for the next five years. This gift is the first of its kind for Objectspace and will fund the future of this vital part of our programme.

Emma Fitts in the studio. Photographs by Naomi Haussmann.