Block Universe, London’s festival of performance art celebrated its fifth anniversary and also ushered this year’s two-week programme on Saturday night. This took place in a vacant building on New Burlington Street with a capacious basement that has been transformed by the artist Sophie Jung into a brilliantly lit reflective chamber lined with a silver mirrored surface and studded with Jung’s hybrid sculptural assemblage-objects which appear to be half-submerged. Guests at the launch party were ushered down into these shimmering mirage-like subterranean surroundings where they were then treated to a preview-cum-rehearsal for the UK premiere of The Bigger Sleep—rehush (hush) (2019), that Jung then performed in its entirety later that evening.
Jung was resplendent in a flesh-toned ‘nude’ body suit adorned with twinkling nipples that she has worn for previous performances. Here, she assumed the role of Frau Welt, a world weary, mentally disintegrating grande dame, reclining on a powder pink chaise longue and being served mimed drinks by a solicitous manservant—who is in fact the artist’s real-life partner. With a characteristically complex, wide-ranging monologue rich in references, word play, asides and tone changes, Jung offered a potent taster of what was later to come in the full version of the piece. At one point she underlined the fragility of her character by breaking into a fragment of the Patsy Cline’s 1961 classic I Fall to Pieces, with her punning word associations including the positing of the Lacanian question, “are we at the mirror stage?” before answering herself with the literal observation, “we are on the mirror stage!”.
There will be three more opportunities to accompany Jung both on and in this multifaceted mirrored stage with further performances of the full-length The Bigger Sleep—rehush (hush) (entrance on Cork St) taking place 29 May-1 June.
• Block Universe, London, 18 May-2 June