Saturday, October 16, 2010

Dream Vision in The Time of the Wolf

Albrecht Dürer, Dream Vision, 1525

There has not been much time for this blog of late as I've been working on a big publication that appeared last week.  It has all been rather tense, so I'm not sure why I ended up last night trying to relax by watching a typically bleak Michael Haneke film...  Le Temps du Loup (The Time of the Wolf, 2003) is set after an unspecified apocalypse and begins with a family escaping from the city and then, after the father is shot, wandering through the inhospitable countryside until they meet other people waiting at an abandoned station.  The hoped for train never comes, although the long take that ends the film is the view from a train.  It passes through a landscape of hills, trees and valleys but with no signs of humanity anywhere.

At one point in the film Eva, the daughter, looking round the empty rooms of the station, comes across a reproduction of Dürer's Dream Vision taped to a wall (see the start of the YouTube clip below).  Dürer's watercolour tried to capture his fear of an apocalypse, falling in the form of water on a landscape resembling the countryside in Le Temps du Loup.  The text below it reads:

`In 1525, during the night between Wednesday and Thursday after Whitsuntide, I had this vision in my sleep, and saw how many great waters fell from heaven. The first struck the ground about four miles away from me with such a terrible force, enormous noise and splashing that it drowned the entire countryside. I was so greatly shocked at this that I awoke before the cloudburst. And the ensuing downpour was huge. Some of the waters fell some distance away and some close by. And they came from such a height that they seemed to fall at an equally slow pace. But the very first water that hit the ground so suddenly had fallen at such velocity, and was accompanied by wind and roaring so frightening, that when I awoke my whole body trembled and I could not recover for a long time. When I arose in the morning, I painted the above as I had seen it. May the Lord turn all things to the best.'

1 comment:

J. Hamlyn said...

I made a piece earlier this year entitled "Deluge" which was in part inspired by Dürer's unsettling vision.

I remember going to a lecture by Susan Hiller, some years ago about her research into dreams and visions. She showed this image and suggested that it was in some way premonitional. My memory is a little hazy about the circumstances of Dürer's death so I looked it up. Apparently he died after "tramping through a swamp to see the body of a whale".