an artist spent nine hours tied to 20,000 multi-colored party balloons, floating above the stage at the sydney opera house. noëmi lakmaier’s ‘cherophobia’ is a performance and a meditative gathering, which takes its name from the psychiatric condition defined as ‘an exaggerated fear of happiness’. the installation draws from the artist’s own experience with disability, and seeks to explore physical, philosophical, personal and political themes.

image by jesse irwin



lakmaier first performed ‘cherophobia’ as a 48-hour durational living installation inside st leonard’s church in london. the ropes that bind the artist’s immobilized body reflect bondage techniques, including shibari — a japanese art form used to emphasize the female form. in reference to lakmaier’s body, the installation seeks to raise further questions about idealized body standards. in ‘cherophobia’, the artist becomes ‘the (imperfect) object of the viewer’s gaze.’

image courtesy of sydney opera house



for its presentation at the sydney opera house, lakmaier chose the concert hall as her stage. secured to a surface and lying in a horizontal position, the artist floated in the air for 9 hours, where visitors were invited to mediate, contemplate and view the performance for as long as they wished. 

image courtesy of noëmi lakmaier

image courtesy of noëmi lakmaier

image courtesy of sydney opera house

image courtesy of noëmi lakmaier

image courtesy of sydney opera house 

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