This group exhibition examines the basic aspects of dream-work, exploring the images, symbols, and overarching role of visual culture in Sigmund Freud’s dream-work theory. According to Freud, dreams are processed in three stages: First, the initial episode that is observed while sleeping. Second, as the subject attempts to describe the dream through language. And third, known as the secondary elaboration, through the dreamer’s free associations with the signs, symbols, and metaphors the dream brought forth.
Drawing on these themes, this exhibition brings three artists together for the first time: Kristen Abdai, Eli Craven, and Tereza Zelenkova. Like the final, secondary elaboration of dream-work itself, the exhibition presents their black-and-white photo-based works in small groupings or maquettes to create extended dream-oriented and symbol-laden narratives. This curatorial method encourages the appropriation of images present in the work while prompting continued investigation into the role of symbols and metaphors in the everyday.
Photographic practices of double exposure, montage, and solarization developed and mastered during the surrealist period illustrate the breadth of the medium’s ability to physically present both the signified and signifier, with the two parts making the whole: the sign. In the 1981 October article “The Photographic Condition of Surrealism,” Rosalind Krauss describes how these signs and symbols illustrate how the photographic image “(is) not (an) interpretation of reality. . . . They are presentations of that very reality as configured, or coded, or written.” The exhibition presents a selection of collages and photographs cropped, cut, and framed; these acts of physical change and presentation bring these images together to present the nature of experience, narrative, and space.