Atmung 4 (1976)
Video registration, b/w 6 minutes
I sit in an airtight plastic bag of 2.20m height and 0.30m diameter until I pass out.
Boegel sits on the floor, in a plastic bag. This is sucked very tightly around him, almost creating a vacuum, which makes it is more and more difficult for him to breathe. Then comes the moment that the artist keels over, groggy with lack of oxygen. Due to the lack of oxygen, he loses consciousness.
The registration of a performance on video directly determines the perception of viewers who were not physically present during the performance. The video 'Atmung 2', for example, begins with a shot of Boegel's face which does not yet betray that his entire body is wrapped up in plastic. The more the viewer can see of the whole, the more he realizes that Boegel is utterly helpless, and cannot even use his hands to remove the plastic from his head. Only then doesit become clear how serious his lack of oxygen really is. Just as their fellow artists Abramovic and Ulay often did in their work, Boegel and Holtappels are here exploring the limits of the human physique by effectively reaching such a limit.