DREAM: Art meets Dreams

DREAM at Chiostro del Bramante

DREAM completes the trilogy of exhibitions at Chiostro del Bramante

DREAM at Chiostro del Bramante is the third part of a trilogy of exhibitions curated by Danilo Eccher. After LOVE (2016) and ENJOY (2017), the team behind this show are clearly on a mission to lure us away from Via del Corso on a Sunday and into the courtyard of the Chiostro del Bramante, where they promise us a good time – not art with a capital A, but trippy fun.

There is a start and finish to the route which moves from nightmare towards fantasy. The journey itself is part of the exhibition; a narrow staircase upholstered with a camo-colored woven landscape of Patagonia made me want to run my hands along it as I climbed through.

DREAM at Chiostro del Bramante
Sharon by Bill Viola. Photo by: Chileshe Mabula

These are the dreams many of us have had, or the nightmares of our childhood. Eerie shadows projected on a wall. A somnolent woman – black Ophelia? – sleeping under water. A leafless tree suspended above ground, its roots curled in the air, hovering like a ghost. Big names in the art world were invited to DREAM, some of whom made work just for this show: Anish Kapoor, Anselm Kiefer, and Kate McGuire, to name a few.

DREAM at Chiostro del Bramante
Il Carro del Sole by Claudio Costa. Photo by: Chileshe Mabula

For me, lesser known artists stole the show. Like Il Carro del Sole, by Claudio Costa, a slim flat plank of wood, galloping nowhere, part horse, part workbench, with a piece of skull attached to where its head might be, and plugs like nails, plunged through its back.

DREAM at Chiostro del Bramante
Data.tron by Ryoji Ikeda. Photo by: Chileshe Mabula

Or Ikeda’s film data.tron, which was like sitting at the controls on an X-flyer, looking out the window. It cycled through its moods: the fast-blinking, head-popping flashes of a video game gave way to hurtling through the galaxy until the stars blurred. Seated on a cushion in the dark, I felt like the winner of a cyber war as the targets were marked by red numbers. The film was alternately irritating and mesmerizing, and it made me wonder if the timing of this exhibit purposely coincided with the proliferation of stores in Rome with names like Dr. Weed.

DREAM at Chiostro del Bramante
Light is Time by Tsuyoshi Tane. Photo by: Chileshe Mabula

The shining star of the show was a room of glistening coin-like objects, suspended from invisible wire, reflected infinitely in 360’ mirrors, by Tsuyoshi Tane. No longer a new idea as much as it is a sure-fire hit. To stand in the middle of the reflections is to take the selfie of selfies.

The influence of Freud, the authority on dream interpretation, is lacking at this party, and Jung didn’t even get an invitation. I couldn’t shake the feeling that the exhibit was impaired by a flawed premise – too general to allow creativity to flourish. “A theme that becomes a journey, discovery, knowledge, emotion: the dream,” says the first line of the program. What art doesn’t have one of those ideas in it?

The audio guide, also custom-made, was written by Ivan Cotroneo, screenwriter and novelist. Instead of the usual info about the artists, materials or ideas, it is a personal narrative to accompany the generic dream. Phrases like: ‘I see a shadow in the darkness’ or ‘forget about your authority’ or ‘you can’t unplug me’ create a mood of free-association, bordering on irritation. The adage that no one likes listening to anyone else’s dreams comes to mind. With the audio guide on silent, I felt ready to continue.

True to its mission, the exhibition was an easy, refreshing journey. In less than half an hour I had made my way through the galleries and was expelled from the dream world only steps away from the stylish, serene bar on the second floor, where real coffee awaited.


Chiostro del Bramante

Arco della Pace, 5 (Piazza Navona)

Till 25 August 2019

Opening hours:

Mon-Sun 10am – 8pm, Sat-Sun 10am-9pm

Entry fee: €12-14


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