Experiment With Dreams (Catalogue)
EXPERIMENT WITH DREAMS
Exhibition cataloque, Malmö Konst Museum 1996 and Produzenten Gallerie, Kassel 1997. 9 p. Offset printed. Size 190 x 135 mm. (FE No. 81)
”In early 1993 we are beginning to find it hard to distinguish between concepts: what is internal, what is external? A series of dream visions occur that are related to our joint work. The border between ”I” and ”the world” dissolves. The knowledge that this border is merely a model and an image of the inevitable limit we call death makes us aware of the necessity of noting down our visions. Dream visions that from 1994 onwards take the form of definite messages to various addressees around the world. Letters in which we move freely in all times and all heads; at all levels and in all conceivable and inconceivable space.
A story begins. An outer surface under which layer after layer may be imagined. The red threads of this story are attached to other stories, other times and space. A sentence, a centre in the writing of the letters, a kind of condensation suddenly appears as a goal, but turns out to be just a mirage: the beginning of yet another story.
There is no given truth for the artist. Each work and every statement is an expression of a hidden source of energy that the work tries in vain to control through its form and content. Therefore the work must be a process; an analysis that not only comprises the unconsciousness of the analysed, but which also allows the unconscious desire of the analyst to be expressed. As in a conversation in which the words have entered an alliance with each other and the apparent is always the threshold to something else.
Thus, letter is laid upon letter on the poetic map. One begins in a dream, a memory, a refrain, or a word in a completely different letter. New names and new roles grow out of other names and meetings. Thomas and Leif become one, become three, become four…
But at the same time there is poetry that functions in a concrete way in a social space. In the course of earlier historical events the centre of the market and com-merce was symbolised by the town square, and power was symbolised by the church. Today these deter-mining ideas are a part of a global economic system, abstract and incomprehensible to the individual. But they are still cruelly present in our everyday affairs. They are there in the images of TV’s hallucinatory eye, in war, in blood and money as well as in white laundry, in our food and in unemployment. Yet in the emotional world view by which we mentally order our lives, we are in another and ancient reality where, to quote Goethe, ”the moon shines, rivers run, and poetry is written”. An eternal longing for a lost paradise that is exploited not only by the laws of manufacturing — but paradoxically also by the bewildering domain of art.
In the beginning of The Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx writes: ”The history of all previous societies is the history of the class struggle.” Today, when Hieronymus Bosch’s Hay Wagon is staged as a touring Broadway play performed among the ruins of central Europe, we realise the frightening importance of our inner voices and the true significance of the expression, ”to stand with your cap in your hand”.
Our letters, most often to people who have ”succeeded” in one way or another, naturally gave rise to both personal and indignant replies. Once sent out to the addressees, dreams immediately collided with the inexorable sharpness of waking day. In this exhibition we have, however, taken the liberty to exclude all letters of reply so that we ourselves shall remain un-contradicted, even though it is in the incongruous realm of sleep. Nor have we interested ourselves in utilising the potential value of reply letters, just as we have not clarified who is right or wrong — but merely to give our dreams ”full access” in the play of values that characterise human activities.
With insight into the frighteningly unjust distribution of human opportunities that continues to occur on earth, despite seeming hopelessness the potential also exists to turn disadvantage into its opposite. – We are all born like Jesus Christ.
Leif Elggren/Thomas Liljenberg, 1996. (Preface from the book Experiment With Dreams and cataloque at Malmö Art museum 1996, Produzenten Gallerie, Kassel, Germany 1996 and Nordic Museum, Stockholm 1998)
Background photo: L.E. and T.L. sleeping in the car, Copenhagen 1995