//07.09.2016 - 09.09.2016 starting at 12pm GMT//

St Leonard's Church, Shoreditch High Street, London, E1 6JN

Cherophobia is a 48-hour durational living installation. It is an attempt to lift the artist's bound and immobilised body off the ground using 20,000 helium party balloons. It is a performance and a gathering, a one-off event that intertwines people in their shared suspense and anticipation.

The word Cherophobia means the fear of happiness, a state of being where one sabotages any chance at joy and pleasure for fear that something terrible might happen if this was achieved. Cherophobia is the state of suspension between the desired happiness and the terror of perceived consequences.

Since 2008, when Lakmaier created Experiment in Happiness she has been grappling with the question of what the concept of happiness (its elevated status in our fast-paced, pleasure and perfection seeking society) means to us, to how we live our lives, and to her personally.

Cherophobia is a work of contrasts and opposites, of the push and pull between fear and desire, freedom and constraint and about our responsibility to make choices. The cheerful, happy image of a giant cloud of balloons stands in stark contrast to the artist's bound, restricted and immobilised body, while the helium-filled balloons pulling upwards are in turn constrained by the church building.

The ropes that bind the artist hint at bondage techniques, such as Shibari, a Japanese art form used to emphasise the perfection of the female body. Applied to the artist's (disabled) body this raises further questions about female body perfection, idealised beauty and body image. The bound body is the object of pleasure to the voyeur, and in Cherophobia the artist becomes the (imperfect) object of the viewer's gaze.  

Cherophobia is a visual, performative and experiential exploration of what it means to be human, rooted in the artist's personal understanding of the world.

Cherophobia is comissioned by Unlimited, a festival celebrating extraordinary new works by disabled and Deaf artists.

Supporters: Michael Wüst, renowned bondage expert, and the Live Art Development Agency.

Press and media

Cherophobia by Noëmi Lakmaier is a 48-hour durational living installation, in which the artist's bound and immobilised body will be lifted by 20,000 helium balloons.

It is a one-off live art event taking place at St. Leonard's Church in Shoreditch, London, from where it will be broadcast live to the Southbank Centre and venues accros the UK and internationally.

From 12:00 noon 07.09.16 you can watch Cherophobia LIVE online

Download Press Release.

Press contacts:
Shiri Shalmy | Producer |
Ratna Jan Bibi | PR|