This exhibition is curated by Sarah Robayo Sheridan and she gave a tour yesterday, speaking about a few works by the 19 artists represented.
Sculptures, drawings, a tapestry and even some well-lit pyjama tops benefit from gallery display. Photos and videos could just as well be viewed on devices or in books, but it makes sense to bring them into the same physical space as the other sleep-themed objects.
Old Woman in Bed, Ron Mueck, 2002. On loan from the National Gallery in Ottawa
The figure is tiny, as you can see compared with the blurry figure of a viewer.The detail is Madame Tussauds creepy and the diminutive size makes her seem very frail. It feels voyeuristic to peer at her and visitors hushed, as if not to wake her. A deathbed scene? Odd that the real hair still seems in scale.
A large blanket on the wall is a digitally-sewn tapestry from a photograph of an Indigenous woman asleep on the sidewalk. Real inclusions … pennies, a feather, a hank of hair, have been appliqued onto the surface.
Dream Catcher, Rebecca Belmore, 2014.
A complex and contradictory image, the Dream Catcher blanket is normally displayed on a real bed.
Details showing some the appliqué items.
We do have many easier ways to watch video. Why hike to a darkened room to stand and watch projections? Well, when part of a larger collection of related works, it helps to bring them together. I’ll include one example, about sleep-deprived marathon dancers. The video side was shot in the Hart House gymnasium.
It turns out that sleep is a rich vein for artists to mine. The show touches on insomnia, sleep deprivation, torture (self-induced and otherwise), the Big Sleep, laziness, sleep disrupted by artificial light, privacy rights, and even the right to take a nap in a park without being molested. Figures of Sleep, until March 3rd.