Night Talks: Danysz Gallery - London

12 April - 31 May 2021 London

The physiological need for sleep, despite its temporal and spatial variations, has remained consistent throughout history, however, the discourse regarding sleep changes based on cultural and political conditions.

Danysz Gallery presents Night Talks, an online exhibition of works that allude to the reflective processes occurring at night. Works of nine artists are exhibited together to revive the imaginary nighttime. When you stay up at night, what do you see? You might see outlines of buildings, people's faces at sleep or awake. You might be calm or restless. There is the idea of a recurring thought, like a memory of someone's face occupying your mind (or fragments of a face sinking into the dark background as in Vhils' Defragmentation 5)-but mostly night is a time for dreams; the light touch, feathers that allude to pillows, softness - as is the case of Maleonn's White on White 3.

 

Objects look different at night; sometimes elongated and reminiscent of David Moreno's houses, and sometimes, like in the case of James McNabb's Control C - bended. This conception of insomnia, as both productive conceptually and reflectively, counters the traditional conception of sleep as related to economic productivity in the capitalist model; with sleeplessness "the workplace is everywhere; work time is all the time" (Blanchot).

 

Over the course of the past year, artists' gaze, like that of many, has turned inwards; their field of view impacted by the lessened exposure to the outside world. This includes prolonged observations of ones settings. In his work Hotel - Kyoto, room 211, Erwin Olaf depicts and exemplify the relationship between environments and the human figure. Many times, his compositions feature just one person. Girl lies on a bed, sleepless. She is engaged in an inner conversation, a silent talk, suggestive of intimacy. When time stands still at night the subconscious takes the main stage. Her insomnia reveals a tension indicating a conflict between her desires and capabilities within a given social system. Barry Dainton describes our illusion of passing of time as "confined to […] appearances; there is nothing in reality to which it corresponds." Li Hongbo's sculptural work unravels a different kind of poetic meaning: the Little Girl's head unfolds and bends in a surreal gesture. Made out of paper over the course of many hours, its repetitive nature relates to time just as it relates to craft.

 

When Marion Peck painted Owl Dream, she established a unique perspective on nighttime. Placed in a garden, there is a solitary bed and her, who dreams. The landscape of the girl's phantasies seems to be inescapable. This kind of perpetual dreaming blurs the line between dream and wakefulness. The imagery is hallucinatory; making it difficult to distinguish sleeping from waking consciousness.