About the Artwork

This was the first time that João Onofre’s work came to London, having toured extensively through Europe at venues including Palais de Tokyo, MACBA and Art Basel. The sculpture takes direct influence from Tony Smith’s pioneering minimalist sculpture Die (1962) having identical dimensions to Smith’s work. While the sculpture’s exterior is identical, within it serves as a mobile location for performance, in which Onofre invites a local Death Metal band to play in each location the sculpture travels to. The Death Metal band Unfathomable Ruination performed on this occasion. The sculpture is hermetically sealed and sound proofed, meaning the duration of the performance is entirely variable, determined by and restricted to the length of time in which the oxygen is expended. From outside the cube, viewers can observe its strange vibrations, while the perspective of the performing band suggests a separate experience of the sculpture. The alternative experiences of the two groups act as a vital part of the performance, in which both groups question and contemplate the other’s experience, directly sharing only the band’s entrance and exit to the performance space. In this way, Onofre animates an apparently inanimate, hard-edged object, making the sculpture a palpable experience – one of entrapment and death, claustrophobia and asphyxiation.

Year: 2007/2014

Copyright the artist; Courtesy of Marlborough Contemporary Photo: © Nick Turpin


steel, acoustic isolation material


183 x 183 x 183 cm