Marianna Simnett

Faint with Light, 2016

Faint with Light is an audio and light installation which records the artist deliberately inducing her own unconsciousness through a self-taught method involving hyperventilation. Simnett’s breath is monitored by a blinding wall of LED lights which rise and fall in tandem with her recurring collapseand revival.

The work was inspired by her late Jewish-Croatian grandfather who survived an execution during the Holocaust when he miraculously fainted. Simnett reclaims the gesture of fainting, historically considered a symptom of hysteria, as a form of rapture, empowerment and survival.

“Simnett’s work is extreme, in its treatment of the artist’s own body but also what it does to the viewer: as Simnett pushes her body to the limit, she also pushes the viewer. Her physical challenge, her body’s response, are never abstracted; they are very real.”

– Orit Gat, A Fire in My Belly, Julia Stoscheck Collection, 2021.