Monday, October 30, 2006

Dream of the Vallüla massif

Tacita Dean is an artist who pursues coincidences. I bought the new Phaidon book about her at the weekend and reading it last night I realised she had quoted the same incident in Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's Wind, Sand and Stars which I had written about here earlier in the day... It comes in an article about Tristan da Cunha (published in Artforum in Summer 2005).

The Phaidon contemporary artists series includes an 'Artist's Choice' section and Tacita Dean has selected a poem by W.B. Yeats and a brief extract from W.G. Sebald's The Rings of Saturn in which the author gazes across the sea at a retreating cloudbank. This cloud formation, glistening 'like the icefields of the Caucasus', reminds Sebald of a dream in which he had walked a mountain range that had felt strangely familiar, and which later he placed as the view from a bus of the Vallüla massif, seen once on a childhood outing. 'I suppose it is submerged memories that give dreams their curious air of hyper-reality. But perhaps there is something else as well, something nebulous, gauze-like, through which everything one sees in a dream seems, paradoxically, much clearer. A pond becomes a lake, a breeze becomes a storm, a handful of dust a desert...'


Incidentally, the Artist's Choices in Phaidon's contemporary artists series make up a great reading list: Louise Bourgeois - Francois Sagan; Luc Tuymans - Andrei Platanov; Doug Aitken - Jorge Luis Borges; Uta Barth - Joan Didion; Mark Dion - John Berger; Richard Deacon - Mary Douglas; Jimmie Durham - Italo Calvino; Olafur Eliasson - Henri Bergson; Tom Friedman - Robert Walser and Timothy Leary; Antony Gormley - Saint Augustine; Dan Graham - Philip K. Dick; Paul Graham - Kazuo Ishiguro and Haruki Murakami; Mona Hatoum - Piero Manzoni and Edward Said; Jenny Holzer - Samuel Beckett and Elias Canetti; Roni Horn - Clarice Lispector; Ilya Kabakov - Anton Chekhov; Alex Katz - New York School Poets; Mike Kelley - Charles Fort; Mary Kelly - Julia Kristeva and Lynne Tillman; Paul McCarthy - Jean Paul Sartre; Cildo Meireles - Jorge Luis Borges; Raymond Pettibon - George Puttenham, Laurence Sterne and John Ruskin (what would Ruskin have made of Pettibon!); Pipilotti Rist - Anne Sexton and Richard Brautigan; Doris Salcedo - Paul Celan and Emmanuel Levinas; Thomas Schütte - Seneca; Lorna Simpson - Suzan Lori Parks; Nancy Spero - Stanley Kubrick and Alice Jardine; Jessica Stockholder - Julian Jaynes and Cornelius Castoriadis; Lawrence Weiner - W.B. Yeats and Kenneth Patchen; and Franz West - Kathryn Norberg.

No comments: