Wednesday, November 25, 2009

yume no ie / dream house (1)

A while ago I wrote here that nothing is more faithful to life's endless absurdities than contemporary performance. This dimension is present, to an extent, in Marina Abramovic's art, but it is not a sense of absurdity you feel when staying at her Dream House. Rather, you come to your senses, and so many unthought of things start making sense.

An old farm house taken care of by local people welcomes four guests who share the common space and at night retire each into a separate room with an ambience of its own. They sleep in a wooden box with a crystal pillow wearing pajamas designed by the artist - and dream. In the morning, as daylight enters the four rooms, each acquires a different colour - purple, blue, green, red - and the guests write down their dreams in a dream book.

As in so many of Abramovic's installations and performances, which seek emotional and spiritual transformation through the body and through the energy imparted by certain materials - crystal, stones, magnets, bones, e.g. -, the participants are requested to follow a set of precise instructions once in the house. The instructions favour the mood for dreams and ground you and focus your attention on those seemingly trivial, everyday actions you usually take for granted. Sitting, standing, walking, washing your hands, having a bath, drinking a glass of water, feeling the cold air on your face: all become invested with meaning and acquire an almost ritualistic quality.

Gradually, as you yield to the energy of the place, everything becomes possible - and the fierce handwritings in red on the walls of the living room become more-than-real. They provide the real instructions for those willing and able to accept the invitation extended by the artist.

Marina Abramovic, Dream House
Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennial
Matsunoyama, Niigata

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