Image of Exhaust, a 24-hour performance during which artist David Rickard collects his exhaled air for an entire day. (Photo by Manuel Vason) At Sumarria Lunn Gallery, London, June 8-July 1.
from the press release:
“Experimentation rather than representation is foremost in the mind of David Rickard. Rickard negotiates the role of control and chance in his work by creating a set of parameters that govern the formation of each work. Be it the effect of gravity, the roll of a dice, or even human exhalation, an element of the unforeseeable is introduced and the experiment begins.
In ‘Exhaust’ every single exhalation of the artist is carefully collected for 24 hours in a series of large foil balloons. Rickard cannot predict how many of these weightless orbs will be produced, or quite what form they will take as they rest suspended in space. When the process is over all that is left is a gradually deflating sculptural monolith and documentation of the process. A series of large photographs survive as the lasting evidence forming the exhibited work. Considering 'Exhaust’ it is hard not to become self-reflective, to become aware of one’s own breathing and the vital nature of this basic daily process. Similarly it is plain to see that even at rest we don’t exist passively in space, we have a constant demand on it.”
Regardless of the self-reflective quality of breathing (which I would imagine is fairly entertaining to watch–a gallery full of people aware that they are breathing, watching others breathe, laboring to slow or make subtle their own breath so as to be not-so-obvious) I think the shiny quality of this is just luscious and delightful. It achieves what the Tara Donnovan installation earlier this spring at Pace did not…a sense of subtle foreboding, something just beneath the surface with greater meaning and more weight (literally?) than its exterior.