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HOW MANY HEARTBEATS IN A FOOTPRINT by SORIN PRODEA
23/05/2021 @ 12:00 pm - 8:00 pm UTC+3
“Life is a life sentence; life is passing time; life is freethinking. I like to use real time; this allows me to live in art time, and to think freely. In your work, sometimes the duration is governed by the limits of your body. But sometimes it’s a set time. How do you decide the duration of a performance?” – Tehching Hsieh
‘How Many Heartbeats in a Footprint’ is a series of 4 durational performances run by Sorin Prodea, which uses vast numbers of repetitive movements to create 4 large paintings. Each number attached to each performance has a specific meaning and is connected to fundamental stages of the artist’s life, from embryonic phase to present moment.
The construction and development of the paintings happen during and through performance, which requires the gradual increase of duration, from 6 to 12, 16, and 24 hours of non-stop gesture.
In order to give work a structure, and to get a sense of control, Sorin will use the Benford law to create a system of chromatic proportion, such as the color gradients.
“I do not know what the final pieces will look like, and that’s not important. What matters is the process and the time, the fact that each painting represents a physical result of a physical performance, and a visual representation of a set of numbers with a significant meaning to me.”
Sorin Prodea is a young emerging multidisciplinary artist, based in Bucharest, Romania, with a special interest in performative practices.
Growing up in Bucharest, Romania, Sorin had to move at the age of 16 to a small village situated in the historical region of Moldavia. Even though this came as a shock for the adolescent raised in a capital city, he now thinks of it as the move that brought him to fateful decisions. The road from home to school and back – 32.250 footsteps, will be instrumented in his second performance – How Many Footsteps to Freedom. Being trapped in this circumstance of little perspectives and not much to do, the artist was determined to constantly look for a way out. And the answer seemed to be school abroad. Having no financial possibilities from home to pursue his goal, he searched for solutions. By pure chance, he came across the HMC Scholarship for Eastern Europe – a grant programme supporting high-school students to study in the UK. He competed with brilliant olympic kids, who were already performing in robotics, maths or programming.
In 2019, Sorin Prodea graduated with a BA in Drama, Theater and Performance Art at Sussex University (UK). Following year, he gets accepted after a 20 minutes interview at Chelsea College of Arts, UAL (London) for an MA in Fine Art. This is another most representative moment in his short, but condensed life, which he will transfer into the third performance – How Many Heartbeats for Art. 110.820 is the number of heartbeats his heart pumped the day he was accepted at Chelsea.
24 years, and a summer residence at the famous Watermill Center, a performance laboratory, founded by theater and visual artist Robert Wilson – described by The New York Times as “America’s – or even the world’s – foremost vanguard theater artist.” He performed in front of art icons, such as Marina Abramovic and Philip Glass. The 212.328 hours lived so far will be encapsulated in the last performance of the series “How Many Heartbeats in a Footprint” staged at STRATA Gallery, the fourth one, entitled “How Many Hours in a Lifetime.”
How did it all begin, though? June 24 1996, presumably the day he was conceived. 6.240 hours spent in his mothers’ womb, until March 3 1997. The durational performance series will start on May 23 with the first one, titled “How Many Hours to Become Human.”
“I’m using durational performance as a medium to create the paintings, and thus allowing the audience to witness and become part of the process. It’s a selfish practice, as by the end of it I will pull off more than the audience will. Not only through their presence and energy, but from the practice itself. The audience may immerse into the process by the act of witnessing, thus discovering patterns, techniques, and meanings.”
“When you repeat mechanical movements for such a long period of time, once the brain memorizes the process, it no longer thinks of it. So, the thinking process is suddenly liberated. That’s the moment when you get to experience a sense of trance, when your thoughts start to travel places, in the chasm of your subconscious, and the only thing you can actually do is surrender. Your mind, your body, and the matter you’re working with are in charge. If you try to overmaster, you lose.”