Talking about contemporary art, it is essential to mention an extraordinary exhibition currently on in Italy until the 5th of May 2019. That is Dream, a surrealist excursion into dreams taking place in Rome at Chiostro del Bramante. As a part of Renaissance monastery designed by Bramante in 1444, this venue has been set up into a parallel universe where souls meet their natural environments. In this artistic path, every artefact represents a dream, which has been transformed in stories, reflections or poems told by the voice of a professional actor.
The exhibition curated by Danilo Eccher starts with a wonderful two statues by Jaume Plensa, called respectively Laura Asia and Chloe's World V covered with an installation that resembles a giant tree that spreads its branches over the building's roof. The white and purple hues mixed together flawlessly connect with the perfect structure of the columns, the arches and the porch and perfectly communicate the evocative intent of the exhibition.
Leaving the view of this setup, suddenly straight on the right, the visitor would find the real start of the show, which needs to be soundtracked with earphones to empathize better with the objects and their respective describing dreamy voices. Personally, the explanation of dreams explicated in the audio guides truly are helpful to get involved in this fantastic experience.
The first two rooms feature works of Bill Viola – here with a video of a woman underwater - and Mario Merz with a hut in the corner overwhelmed by the darkness and a series of objects and installations able to reconnect with the memories of the dreamer.
The most interesting in this space are:
the suspended tree by Henrik Hakansson, which indagates the comparison among time, illusion, protection and the inclination towards the Divine; the silk shirts of Doris Salcedo, stitched with twelve thousand needles that represent the wounds of the soul developing in a hymn to resilience and to a luminous rebirth despite of sorrows and frustration over a hopeful vision of the present; the alabaster excavated sculpture shaped by famous artist Anish Kapoor. The meanings here are several: these rocks describe the concept of infinity and the spiritual effusion coming up in the surface from the bottom of the circled sections, which are the expression of eternity themselves. On the other side, the specific color refers both to the unceasing flow of feelings and to the wish for the new brides of Hinduism belief. Also, the use of this kind of marble is not a coincidence: it symbolises both repentance and forgiveness and both serenity and starry achievement of the individual
The fantastic journey literally arises at the view of the majestic installation titled Light is Time designed by the Japanese architect Tsuyoshu Tane. This site-specific work embodies a solid rainfall through 65,000 golden plates that donate an atmosphere of total amazement and surprise in a space widen by the glare of the stone-like little objects. Also, the composition urges the dreamer to start a new adventure along the purifying and prosperous shower the rain is bringing with itself. Indeed, the outcome is astonishing as all this enchants everyone and we could consider this remarkable transition as the key point of the exhibition. Why? Because the guests must cross the sparkling dripping, stuck in time and space, in order to proceed with the discovery of magic.
From here, another ambience appears: the reproduction of a cavern by the artist Alexandra Kehayoglou who has realized a site-specific work by covering the stairs with huge rugs and fabrics representing the landscapes of Patagonia. The colour scale changes from the initial cool colours of the stones to the warmer ones belonging to luxuriant vegetation and it indicates the changing times that occur in our life.
At the end of the enclosed stairs, a new floor welcomes the visitor. The feeling here is to have been crushing in a whirlwind world that enhances our sense of distortion and illusions. This vertiginous experience is made by the Austrian artist Peter Kogler, who aims to illustrate what modern life seems to be nowadays, floating between alienation and abundant interconnection, but appealing at the same time. In my personal interpretation, it looks like being surrounded by a colossal snake that runs after its preys to trap them into a whimsical reality like the one of Alice in Wonderland theme.
From here more themes depart in each room:
• the subject of the mask and dream is recreated by Luigi Ontani who replicates an entire bedroom in order to conjugate social masks with private inner self;
• the work of luminous blue numbers fixed on the ceiling by the artist Tatsuo Miyajima, representing the numerical sequences dreamed by all of us;
• the colour related to dreams. Eight wood panels painted in specific spiritual hues: light fleshy pink, light blue as the quietness of the sea, grey as the compromise shade to also use in life, and white to symbolise the origin of everything. Colors are important for our emotions and they offer important answers to our dreams;
• light is masterfully expressed in the work of James Turrell, as it conveys power and intensity to dreams, as well as positive and balanced associations. In Sensitive Thought, the visitor gazes at the lights combining dawn, sunset and night until he would eventually enter the artist's dream and totally live the wonder.
An interesting and curious spot can be founded at the shop, where a big sign titled 'Dreamers' is the leitmotiv that leads the guests to write what their dreams are on a coloured post-it. The effect is extraordinary and denotes how effective and engaging the show is. Once in the terrace, the view of the first installation located in the entrance will have an outstanding impact, both for the colour and the geometrical combinations.