Sophie Dupont’s Performance ‘Marking Breath’ explores the ritual repetition of the most important and simple action in life: breathing. With breathing as the starting point of the work the barrier between art and life is reduced. The work depends on breathing like the further existence does. Concentrating on this one single action for a long time creates a feeling of freedom: ‘When all I focus on is my breath, I override any thoughts on the superficial elements of our modern lives: status, economy, education etc’. The work is meditative and reductive in form and content exploring the discrete/invisible sign of presence and existence, breath, and transforming it into physical/visible marks. The duration of the performance is as usual from sunrise to sunset.
The performance contains no plot, no story, no narrative progression – only body, breath, marks and time. As every evanescent breath will be transformed into a physical mark on a material that relates to the specific country or place: copper, leather, zinc etc., this can be read as a proof of my existence on this specific day as well as a documentation of the performance.
The shapes of the marks will be characterized by spontaneity and deliberate imperfections, which reflect human nature and spirituality. The works will be similar but different, leading our minds to the small differences that inevitably occur even when we try to repeat and copy very simple actions.
Duration: Sunrise 7.15 am – Sunset 8.09 pm. Copper Plate Mexican Letter Format 28 x 22 cm Venue: SOMA Open Studio
Marking Breath. 7 August 2013. Mexico City.
Sunrise 7.15 am – Sunset 8.09 pm. Copper Plate Mexican Letter Format 28 x 22 cm Venue: SOMA Open Studio.
I wake up. It’s pitch black outside. I have been worried about taking the subway to the school. But I have decided to do it anyways. People have told me it’s safe enough. I dress in white clothes.
The train is ok – people are on their way to work. It is scarier to walk to the train. There are homeless people sleeping by the station entrance.
I arrive to SOMA –I’m the only one there. I set up my things, my plate, my tool. Place my jacket in the little room under the staircase. 7.15 am I start. Time passes. It’s the day of the open studio. It opens at 6 pm. I’m ready. The caretaker of the school arrives, he puts music on – it’s nice, I love listening to music while marking. It relaxes me. I like to look out between the marks. The sun shines. People start to come. They set up their works. I hear discussions – nothing serious, no fights. The music stops. I notice Jael is there. She’s a good friend of mine, and she stands there, quietly watching me. I like this. It intensifies my work.
It has started to rain. I hope it will stop tonight. Lately it has rained a lot – hot rain. I mark, look out, see people running around preparing, I mark. My mind is disturbed a little, I’m impatient – I like to walk and talk with people. I see Jaqueline carrying a big rock. Jelena is talking to Elise. They have fun, drink beers and smoking. I have no idea what time it is. More of the people come, they are dressed up. They look great. All are ready. More people come. It most be 6 pm as it’s voices I don’t know. I sense people in the room – I sit with my back to the room as I face the window. They look. Someone says ‘Excuse me, can I ask you something?’ I just look down to the plate – marking. I think even if I looked at them and smiled it would be so awkward. But I really don’t like not to answer – it feels rude. But it’s a performance and one of the rules is; no talking. People stand around me then someone leaves and another one come. I feel the change of energy very clear with the people. I feel if someone is impatient, if someone is angry at my work, if someone feels relaxed looking at me marking. Sounds are very clear, talking is very clear. I clearly hear the tone of voice, even more then what is being said.
I see the sunset – the colors are so beautiful – the sky look like it’s on fire. It’s filled with people outside. I don’t know so many of them, only a few of my friends from SOMA and the artist who have been the teachers.
It’s like forever –I mark. The bell rings – it’s 8.09 pm. I stand. I can hardly stand. People come to talk – my voice is gone. I try. I’m tired. I drink some water – it helps. I find a video – Jelena’s video I sit in the sofa watching it 20 times – I’m tired. Later we all go dancing and eating – it’s very nice to get food. We drive though the streets of Mexico City by night. It’s like a dream. All the buildings have light – we drive through the palace on cobbles, it has rained. The car stops in front of my house. I’m home to sleep.