Tate Britain Performance

Until the Last Breath is Breathed

Photograph of a male figure in the dark in front of a cake with candle

Martin O'Brien Until The Last Breath is Breathed

Explore what it means to live in this evening of performance from Martin O'Brien

Somewhere in an old morgue, a single flame burns in an otherwise darkened room. There is a single heart beating in the space, one set of lungs breathing deeply. The room smells and tastes like death.

In Tate Britain, a sickly prophet preaches about the end of the world. Martin O’Brien has cystic fibrosis and grew up thinking he would die at 30. The end did not come and Martin now considers himself as living in the zombie years. This work is an exploration of mortality, survival, prophecy and sickness.

Martin considers what it means to live longer than expected and to embrace death as a way of life. It is a combination of spoken text, live action and video projection using footage filmed in an abandoned morgue in 2017, during the 30 hours leading up to his 30th birthday.

In this performance, he raises questions around religion, death and the potential for a zombie based apocalyptic scenario.

With music and videography by Suhail Merchant


Martin O’Brien is an artist and zombie. His performance and video art uses physical endurance, long durations, and pain based practices in order to examine what it means to be born with a life shortening disease. Martin has cystic fibrosis and all of his work and writing draws upon this experience. He is currently lecturer in Drama, Theatre and Performance at Queen Mary University of London. He recently surpassed his life expectancy and is enjoying life as a zombie.

Tate Britain

The Clore Auditorium

London SW1P 4RG
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Date & Time

8 February 2020 at 18.30–20.00

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