How Words Play, Visions

Dream Machine at IMMA, Hans Christian Anderson and William S Burroughs

The current exhibition of writers who do/did visual arts at IMMA is something people should  see.. and it’s travelling Europe!

Curator Hendel Teicher has constructed an exhibiton of Paperwork by Hans Christian Anderson (1805-1875) and William S Burroughs (1914-1997).

The basement area of the New Galleries at IMMA are given over to two major works,   ‘The Screen ‘ (Copenhagen) by Anderson and the other , Gysin/Burrough’s Dream Machine’ (1961). The Dream Machine is alone in a room, the soundtrack is of Shamanic  and Moroccan music ( I think) …..

This  huge piece is set on an old motor with a big bulb in the centre, round  which cut-outs revolve in amber light.

The viewer/participator goes up to the piece and standing quite closely their eyes, the  effect is tremendous.

W.  Burroughs used it both out of his mind on drugs and clean, cataloguing the effect of His  visions from utilising the piece. It’s not as moving, say, as reading ‘Poem Rocket’  by Ginsberg or just doing the magic stuff yourself,  the effect is similar to being a kid on a moving car or in a train. I was watching people gingerly approach the piece and standing quite closely  to it with their eyes closed and mostly they had big sheepish grins on their faces when they stayed longer than a few minutes. I saw Greeny-blues and silver shapes (_ and movement_),  like moving at speed through a lit or forested landscape).

There are vitrines on the upper floors with cut-outs  by both artists: works on paper and montages. Anderson did marvellous silhouettes of demons and chimeras, whilst Burroughs’  focus was on eye imagery (Aye).

His 1992 ‘Creator of the Eye’ is visually disturbing, and monkeys abound on the walls. Take a look at Anderson’s ‘Two Pierrots Balancing on Swans +Two Dancers‘ , which is  of blue paper cut-outs against an album paper ground. The juxtapositions and similiarities of the two men’s expression, from differing eras and backgrounds is profound and the  well worth a visit.


Until June 29th 2008 @ The New Galleries. Irish Museum Of Modern Art.

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