Jaroslav Kyša: Breathe Deeper, Should You Need to Come Back

You are cordially invited!

VUNU Gallery - Ortodoxná synagóga v Košiciach

Zvonárska 7, Košice



sound design: Tomáš Prištiak

camera & editing: Denis Kozerawski

technical production: Samuel Chovanec

graphic design: Aurélia Garová

colorist: Lucia Kovaľová

exhibition production: Róbert Bernáth



Accompanying text (Jaroslav Kyša):


"Deep time is the dizzying expanse of earth's history that stretches from this moment onward. Deep time is measured in units that subdue the brief flicker of human presence: epochs and ages instead of minutes and years. Deep time preserves rock, ice, stalactites, and sediments at the bottom of the seas, and shifts in tectonic plates. Deep time opens into the future as well as the past. Earth will plunge into darkness when the sun runs out of fuel in about five billion years. We stand behind the edge not only with our toes but also with our heels."1


The beginning of the Breathe Deeper, Should You Need to Come Back project was a visit to the Gombasecka cave during the pandemic summer of 2020. The guide eagerly shined a flashlight on individual stalagmites and other cave formations and mechanically reproduced for us what shows which shape or its shadow. The names were always popular, such as Dwarf, Snow White or Gingerbread House. Exactly as we call mountain tops and rock formations. In this way, the human mind projected its own idea of what it sees into cave formations that were formed over hundreds of thousands of years in absolute darkness.


Since the last installation Poradie Vĺn (Synagogue - Contemporary Art Center, Galéria Ján Koniark in Trnava, curator: Michal Stolárik, 2020), in which I worked with the feeling of experiencing time as something that happens here and now, this project is a logical continuation of my thinking. Deep time is the opposite of our subjective sense of time perception happening here and now.


The site-specific installation Breathe Deeper, Should You Need to Come Back consists of a film shot in the Okno cave in Demänovská dolina. Man, as the discoverer of this space, brought light to the cave with his presence, thus changing its existing state forever. I use light as a metaphor for human presence. It is a tool in my hands to reconstruct the darkness. With the help of pre-prepared props, I simulate "dark matter" gradually absorbing the entire scene. I return the cave to its natural state. 


Karst cave complexes are complex structures located somewhere under our feet. They have a similarly unexpected size as the internal volume of the lungs. Deep breath - deep breath. The installation in the space of the Orthodox Synagogue works as a never-ending story without a beginning and an end. Aren't we at a moment when the time horizon is curved? The future and the past seem to take place in a time loop). As if we were experiencing everything over and over again. The opposite is repeated - we repeat the same mistakes.


“Either the pit was very deep, or it was falling very slowly, but Alice had plenty of time to look around and wonder what would happen next. At first, she tried to look down and find out where it actually fell, but she couldn't see anything, so it was dark there. Well, she looked around the walls of the pit and saw many kitchen shelves and book folders on them. Maps and pictures hung here and there on nails." 2


Take a deep breath.

Make yourself comfortable.

You can lie on your back in bed, or on the floor with a pillow under your head and knees.

Breathe in through your nose.

Let your belly fill with air.

Exhale through your nose.

Place one hand on your stomach.

Place the other hand on your chest.

As you inhale, feel your stomach rise.

As you exhale, feel how it descends.

The hand on your belly should move more than the one on your chest.

Take three more full, deep breaths.


1 MACFARLANE, Robert: Underland: A Deep Time Journey, London, Hamish Hamilton, 2019.

2 CARROL, Lewis: Alice in Wonderland, Martin: Young Summers, 1981.




The realization of the work from public sources was supported by the Art Support Fund in the form of a scholarship. The project is supported by the City of Košice.     


Special thanks to: Pavel Herich, Nikolas Bernáth, VŠVU, Daniel Kordík, VSG Košice, Art Support Fund, City of Košice