The Interpretation of Dreams
534 W 21st Street
“In the world of dreams there is no up or down, no right or wrong.It is in this spirit that I created this work.”
NEW YORK—An exhibition of new works by Andres Serrano, entitled The Interpretation of Dreams, will be on view at Paula Cooper Gallery from 12 May through 8 June, 2001.
The Interpretation of Dreams consists of a selection of new photographs shot over the past 8 months. The images are tableaus or portraits staged by the artist to represent dreams, nightmares and fantasies. Although personal and idiosyncratic (most of the images come from the artist’s own dreams and fantasies), these images have a familiarity likening them to cultural and psychosexual archetypes.
Shot in the manner of celebrity portraiture but emphasizing difference and otherness instead of conformity, these works explore a range of unconscious drives and fears, racial or social divides, while tying these with anxieties related to the human body. What emerges is a collection of phantasms given visual, starkly realistic form. Serrano states, “for me, art is a moral and spiritual obligation that cuts across all manner of pretense and speaks directly to the soul.”1
Both blunt and candid, at times disturbing, these works address highly charged issues surrounding identity, race, class, religion, gender and sexuality. The composition is pared down, all props or extraneous details eliminated. What remains, in most cases, is the human body and the costume that endeavors to exalt it. A number of images referring to childhood heroes or fantasies (Santa Claus, Cowboys and Indians, Superman), as well as the overall emphasis on uniforms or disguises draws the viewer’s attention to the fictions we create about ourselves during childhood and continue to cling to and cloak ourselves in.
Some of the images from this exhibition can be viewed on a website created by the artist for the occasion: www.theinterpretationofdreams.org
From Give & Take, exhibition catalogue, London: Serpentine Gallery, 2001, illus. ↩