500 Breaths 2018

23 Nov 2018 : Saint Paul's Hill, Melaka, Malaysia

I hold a ream (500 sheets) of black A4 paper in both hands. Standing outside the venue I bend to suck one sheet at a time up to my mouth, breathing in darkness. I hold it against my face with my inbreath. Finally exhaling I let the sheet fall to my feet as I take a new inbreath. I slowly advance into the roofless Church, leaving a trail of black sheets on the floor, as the other performances continue around me. The performance concept was inspired by a film by Richard Serra, a workshop with Boris Nieslony, and performances by Mike Parr. The work is titled after one of Parr’s performances. The use of black paper references the minimalist black square of Russian artist Malevich. (I was unable to complete the number of breaths/ sheets due to the duration of the event).

Mike Parr, (Australia) 100 Breaths (1994) performance and video in which the artist sucks 100 self portraits to his face using his breath.

Richard Serra, (USA) Colour Aid (1970-71), 16-mm Kodachrome Film, 33 minutes - I encountered this film working with Min Tanaka on the performance Le Sacre du Printemps in Paris. Richard Serra was the set designer and this film was used as a backdrop scene. Serra’s hand is seen to remove one by one sheets from a stack of paper which increase in tonality.

Boris Nieslony (Germany) is a performance artist who works durationaly with different materials including white A4 paper.

Project Details
Dates 23 Nov 2018
Duration 1 hour
Producer 10th Melaka Arts and Performance Festival
Category solo

photos by Steve Chong, Goh Lee Kwang, WeiZen Ho, Mic Guillaume