The United Nations Climate Action Summit on September 21 in New York is a magnet for politicians and world activists. Danish artist Jeppe Hein will launch Breathe With Me; this project will take place for a week in the UN headquarters, its focus and purpose is to invite world leaders to “paint their breath” as a symbolic statement on climate policy.
The work, in which participants inhale and then exhale while painting a blue line on a life-size canvas, aims to “remind people that they are alive by visualizing the wave of their breath,” the artist says. “We have to change ourselves to change where the world is headed, but you can’t demand change from others—you can only try to inspire people.”
The project was created and organized by the nonprofit group Art 2030 in collaboration with partners such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the environmental organization Parley for Oceans.
The public will be invited to participate September 25-27 September in Central Park. The canvas will stretch up to 600 ft.
The work stems from a ritual practiced by Hein, who is best known for his meditative works. After suffering a physical and mental breakdown around ten years ago, the artist says, he began painting small watercolors and would attempt to control his breath by painting one line as he exhaled and inhaled. “I felt concentrated and started to feel well,” he says. “We’re somehow aware of our breath when we’re painting although we’re doing something invisible.”