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 5.16 am – Sunset 7.41 pm. Zinc plate 30 x 21 cm. Venue: Gallery Factory.Seoul, Korea. Photos & video by Jiwon Kim.
The Mind; Marking Breath. Gallery Factory. Seoul. 23 May. 2014. Sunrise 5.16 am – Sunset 7.41 pm.
I wake up around 3.30 pm. I shower and dress casual – jeans and a t-shirt. I have to walk around 30 minutes from the hotel to the gallery. I’m always a little bit worried about the mornings when I have to walk in the dark to the places where the performance take place. I walk to the big palace. The moon is shining and the guards are there – they make me feel safe – the first people I see. Strange figures lie on pillars by the museum entrance – they look so alive – they remind me a lot of a character in a book my father used to read to me, The Never-Ending Story; the dog that protects the protagonist and is able to fly across oceans and worlds.
I have the key to the gallery and I open the door at 5 am. I have 16 minutes to get myself ready and seated for the long day I have ahead of me. The time is now 5.16 am. I start the marking in zinc. I use plates made of zinc, because there are zinc mines in Korea. The format is the letter format as if writing a letter with my breath. As my mind is wondering in all directions, I start to focus on the mark making. I am thinking of an ex-lover of mine who used to have a Korean girlfriend and he has told me many stories about the time he visited Seoul – he was a very good storyteller and I used to love listening to all his stories.
The mind – it has its own logic based in unconsciousness and consciousness mixed together. It’s such a puzzle to me. But fascinating, all the ideas and thoughts – sometimes great – sometimes paranoid – sometimes depressed –sometimes happy…
Suddenly I hear the door being opened and the gallery staff comes in. It’s nice to have company – even though I don’t speak to them. I like to have people around. I sit facing the window and am actually looking out at an installation made by two of my friends from Denmark, Randi & Katrine. That is nice, almost like they’re here with me.
I mark my breath – each mark brings me into the present. I might think about 1.000 things – the mind – the illusion of things and what not – but the simple rhythm of the action, making the marks, coordinated with my breathing constantly puts the mind into perspective – like I look at the mind – observe the mind and notice it’s like waves; it’s like the never-ending story. It never stops, and the more I get to know this is how it works, the more I feel it’s something I cannot really control. But with my breathing I can focus on the present and stay more or less calm in a world that is forever changing.