'Faint brief cry and immediately inspiration and slow increase of light together reaching maximum together in about ten seconds. Silence and hold about five seconds. Expiration and slow decrease of light together reaching minimum together in about ten seconds and immediately cry as before. Silence and hold about five seconds. ' - Breath
'Breath' was written in response to Kenneth Tynan's request for a piece for his show 'Oh! Calcutta!' (which featured a series of risqué sketches) at New York's Eden Theatre on 16 June 1969. It lasts less than a minute.
The text was originally published in 'Gambit', Vol. 4, No. 16 (1970). At the time, it was considered - wrongly - as the culmination of Beckett's work.
'When I was asked to direct this film, I read the text and thought it was incredibly precise and strict. While preparing to shoot, I kept reading the text over and over and what really focused me was Beckett's direction 'Hold for about five seconds'. That was when I realised that Beckett had this massive sense of humour.'
- Damien Hirst, director of 'Breath' for the Beckett on Film project.
Damien Hirst, born in Bristol in 1965, attended Goldsmiths' College, University of London from 1986 until 1989. While still a student, he curated the widely acclaimed 'Freeze' exhibition, which launched the career of many successful artists, including himself. He has had many solo shows in London, New York and Zurich. He exhibited at the Tate Gallery and recently showed pieces in the 'Sensation' exhibition at the Royal Academy. He was short-listed for the Turner Prize in 1992 and won it in 1995.