THE BIG SLEEP
4th Artists' Biennial at the Haus der Kunst
Thursday, 18 July 2019, 7 p.m., Central hall
19 July - 08 Sept 2019, West wing
daily 10.00 am - 20.00 pm, Thurs 10.00 am - 22.00 pm
Samstag 20.07.2019, 18 bis 20 Uhr / Saturday, 20 July 2019, 6 - 8 p.m.
Saturday, 07 September 2019, Central hall
18 p.m. catalogue presentation
Host country of the biennial 2019:
70 years of exhibitions of the Artists association at Haus der Kunst München (former Ausstellungsleitung (exhibition director) in the Haus der Kunst Munich e.V.) directed by Anna Frydman and Rasso Rottenfußer with contributions from Anna Frydman, Esther Glück, Yuliia Koval, Günter Nosch in collaboration with Kurt Fendt, Ben Silverman, MIT Cambridge/USA
Curation: Dr. Cornelia Oßwald-Hoffmann
Co-Curation USA: Peter Gregorio
Artistic consulting and team:
Albert Coers, Michael Lukas, Eva Ruhland, Alexander Steig
Light + Technical management:
Dr. Markus Söder, Bayerischer Ministerpräsident
THE BIG SLEEP describes the nocturnal, dreamlike atmosphere of a deep slumber. While the body is at rest, the brain works and opens up to a multi-layered, irrational space. Thoughts move in slow motion - so slowly that you can watch them as they form. This crippling, waddling feeling can be perceived as threatening, or as a necessary slowdown to open up the potential of all possibilities of creative thinking. Only in this value-free space of the break can everything be thought, shaped and weighed against each other.
George Washington Gedenkstiftung
STÄDTISCHE GALERIE IMLENBACHHAUS UNDKUNSTBAU MÜNCHEN
Dr. Cornelia Oßwald-Hoffmann / Curatorial statement
In the end of the crime novel The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler, the title is an euphemism for death; it refers to a rumination about „sleeping the big sleep“ with the killing off of most of its protagonist’s in the final pages of the book. In short one after another, as in a Shakespearean drama, everybody dies in the end.
I’m not interested in death, but rather in the special kind of “film noir” at-mosphere of Chandler’s dark detective thriller that unfolds within a dreamy multilayered irrational three-dimensional space. One’s head feels stuffed, as if your thoughts are moving in slow motion - - so slowly that you can watch them form and unfold in real time. With the potential for anything to happen at any time, the suspense can be frightening, as in a dream, you have no clue what you will face when you cautiously approach the door that appears out in front of you. In this primordial soup of sleep everything is swimming, forming small isles, forming liquid “maybe’s” that move in and out of uncertainty.
We can see this as a metaphor for the current state of our society, as though we are stuck in a lucid dream that is perpetually unfolding, with our brains asleep, and our bodies remaining awake. Moving all day and fidgeting like jumping jacks, our brains are paralyzed, bombarded with way too much inconsistent information coming at us with a velocity faster than we can comprehend. We cannot react anymore, all of our possible reactions are ‘past tense’ before they can be ‘present tense’. “Presence” is lacking, overlapped by a disordered jungle of, “maybes, should be, could be, was-has-will, and would be’. All possibilities to read and interpret the past and to imagine a future, the space between the “was and the will” is getting smaller and smaller until they are overlapping on both sides. The ‘past’ and ‘future’ are forming a netting, hiding the ‘present’ like the impenetrable thorn hedge of Sleeping Beauty, which could not be solved mechanically, but only rather, by waiting for the duration of the spell to finally elapse.
“The Big Sleep” is something of a lull-before-the-storm. It is the perfectly smoothed surface of a fermenting brew that is bubbling underneath - - secret-ly growing and expanding, waiting for the “big bang” to activate. “The Big Sleep” is only the cover that keeps it all together, so that our society won’t explode out in all possible directions. As we have seen recently in Paris, people are out in the streets demonstrating - - they are vandalizing, fighting, against everything and nothing. The reason for this blind fury is unclear, it is due to and unto itself. Like a perpetual motion machine going round and round, people are angry, but without a concrete reason why. They are unable to cope with their problems, possibilities, dreams, and fears - - like a wave of blind rage flooding through the city, similar to that of a natural catastrophe, you cannot stop it by any rational means. Can a democracy face of this kind of mindless power? As rationalism is swept away and the means to deal with these challenges are lacking, how do we handle it? When we don’t realize that we are inside the cocoon of “The Big Sleep”, how do we stop it from bursting out at its seams? We are confusing this dream state for that which is real - - sleeping away the possibility of a suc-cessful coexistence. It is now time for us to wake up, before we end up as in Chandler’s novel „sleeping the big sleep“.