Chris Leuenberger is greatly interested in the relationship between breathing and movement. Practising yoga and pranayama intensively over the years has strengthened and deepened this interest. His growing enthusiasm for the remarkable effects of specific breathing patterns on the body and its energy system gradually began to influence his choreographic work as well. He has been exploring the choreographic potential of breath and breathing in a number of works since 2008 – for example, Masculinity (2008), Soplo de Vida (2012), Organisation (2015) and Desire & Discipline (2016) – and sharing the experience he has built up in workshops.
Atem-Portraits is a long-term project in which he aims to take an in-depth look at his artistic practice related to breathing, and his creative network, so as to inject them with fresh ideas and momentum. His plan is to develop a series of six short solos – the Breath(ing) Portraits of the title – with three of his current artistic partners and three brand new ones. The project takes the form of a series of residencies during which ideas can be worked out for new pieces and collaborations without the pressure of having to produce and premiere the work by a fixed deadline. The musician Thomas Jeker, who has already worked with Chris on several pieces, is in the process of developing potential approaches to the work and scores for the individual portraits.