Mukul Deora / BREAK
“I wanted to create a situation in which the audience takes a risk by participating. A situation where a primal, expressive side is allowed to emerge.” – Mukul Deora
On the night of 26th September, 2009, on entering the gallery, one noticed an empty space cordoned off by a velvet rope, with a sign that said: BREAK has moved. To participate in BREAK, please take the shuttle bus downstairs.
The audience then took the shuttle bus to a hitherto undisclosed location - a sprawling derelict mill 5 minutes away. They arrived at the mill compound, which was barely lit, and had to walk through a long passage until they reached 2 gatekeepers who asked them to sign a legal disclaimer, stating that they accepted full responsibility for any injury that might occur if they proceeded. They were then allowed to pass, and entered a vast, dark space, open to the sky and framed by jagged, crumbling walls. In the center of this space was a new, white Contessa car with some sledgehammers lying around.
The audience then participated in the experiment by smashing the car, ripping out its innards, and even overturning it twice. It became an energetic, passionate, struggle, in which extremes of emotion were given free expression against that quintessential symbol of modernity, the automobile. It was also a celebration of the oldest natural cycle: creation through destruction.
There were various reactions from the participants: some worked out their road rage; an engineer, after smashing the car's engine, said he felt like he had violated his mother; others immersed themselves in the rhythmic physicality of the action.
The audience, who had come to the gallery to attend an art opening now found themselves confronting complex emotions in an elaborately constructed but alien environment - an environment created to enable them to become what Antonin Artaud called ‘athletes of the heart’