10 questions for performance artists: SANDRA CORRIGAN BREATHNACH

1) What is performance art for you?

Performance art for me is a means of expression, communication and connection.

2) What is your relationship with the public/ audience and what role do they play for you in your performances?

This would be impossible for me to define, as each experience and interaction, even within a single piece can vary greatly. What I can say is that a lot of my work reaches out directly to those who are present, when this connection occurs it goes beyond a physical interaction, beyond words, some of which have been very moving experiences for me.

3) What do you think about and feel when you are performing?

My thoughts are private and feelings vary, overall I feel more in tune with myself, and at time with those around me, I can feel a release and allow myself to instinctively be, which can alter a piece as it is being created greatly. I do not repeat performances, in preparation I will have worked on an idea, what I am going to do and how I envisage it coming together, this element of instinctual being, allows greater freedom, real intention is central, if my energy changes, I will go with it and not against it, at other times I give out so much energy that I am completely drained by the end of the piece.

4) Is art a form of communication? If so, what does your art communicate?

Yes art is a form of communication. Within my work the physical actions can relate and be read on one level, but I also communicate metaphysically, using my energy as means of interaction and personal communication.

5) Is yours a social message or a personal one?

I would say both as the personal can resonate on a social level and vice versa.

6) How are/were you influenced by those around you in your work?

I would say I am influenced through the network of Performance Artists by a feeling of comradeship and support, while naturally this is not always the case because of human nature, mostly I find that it is, there is an interconnectedness that seems to span across the medium.

7) Time and duration are key dimensions in performances. How do you relate to these in your practice?

'Flux In Flow' was an 8 hour durational piece I created with Artist Alastair MacLennan, in 2019, within this work we looked at Time 'the conscious experience of duration' (Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1966, P224, Vol.22 'Time & Time Measurement') Looking at taking time to pause, observe and consider how we as human beings try to measure time. Our experience of time can be so individual, a week can seem like a year or a day. Unless I am constrained by an allocated time Within a piece I try to gauge how long I feel a piece will be, there are many factors taken into account, but during the actual process the piece could end up being shorter or longer as I heavily rely on my intuition, when a piece is over, it is over.

8) What is your relationship to ritual action, and what role does it play in your performances?

Ritualistic action is at the heart of most of my work, while I do not repeat a piece, there is a thread of intention, materials and actions that interweave through my practice.

9) How do you experience solo performances in comparison with performing with others?

Within solo work my focus is very central to the piece, within a dual performance the focus is shared, it creates a completely different dynamic, this also depends on the other artist, how you bond together and involves a lot of trust. Performing within a group is so varied that it is hard to give a simplified description, it can range from being a mostly solitary experience within the comfort of the group to an immersive connected experience.

10) Culture or Nature?

Culture is natural, we are part of nature and it is in our nature to create Culture which is ever evolving, so my answer is both.

About Sandra Corrigan Breathnach

Sandra Corrigan Breathnach has exhibited her work both nationally and internationally, most recently she developed a new two day performance art event Somatic Distortion with the L.S.C. & The Glens Centre which she curated. Recent performances include, PEPA Madrid, and an 8 hour collaborative performance 'Flux In Flow' with Artist Alastair MacLennan in the Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast. Other performances include, 'Severance' at '60-120 Breaths' in Flax Art Belfast as part of 'Humanism in Process', La Chambre Blanche for Inter le lieu's Rencontre internationale d'art performance (RiAP) Québec Canada 2018, Pollen Gallery Belfast, The Belfast International Festival of Performance Art, Acción Mad 16 – XIII Encuentro De Arte De Acción, at the Matadero Madrid. Following a period of collaboration with artist Alastair MacLennan, Corrigan-Breathnach and MacLennan created their Performance Installation exhibition 'Breath And Blood' in 2018 in the Burren College Gallery, Co. Clare, the exhibition included live performance, drawings, video, sound works and sculpture. Other collaborations include working closely with Artist James King, their 2016 exhibition 'Pollenate' in the Void Gallery Derry, was a combination of live performance, video, animation, photography and sound works. Sandra is a member of the performance art organisation Bbeyond.