Now that I’m seeing friends in person after our long spell of separation, I ask them this question: How have you changed during the pandemic? I find their answers haven’t yet formed, most people talk about what was cancelled or lost or how they wished they’d used their time. Maybe we’re just now collecting ourselves, identifying changes in society, and more time is needed before a newer self can be identified.
As for me, I’ve become more of a surrealist in my thinking, writing, and art-making. I wear a crown of questions. I wish for the expansion of imagination in every area of human endeavor. We can change nothing until we can imagine something other than what already exists.
I spent the past year creating a surreal dollhouse that developed into a type of self-portrait. “House for Invisible Dolls” is now on view at Eugene Contemporary Art’s ANTI-AESTHETIC art space. The show is titled Architecture of Dreams
I hope you enjoy the video of the dollhouse that reveals the names of the different rooms.
Words came at the end of the project because I wanted my subconscious to direct the visual work as much as possible. Delving into the subconscious – through dreams, reverie and meditation – provides forms and insights the linear mind cannot reach. Words have a way of pinning down a free-floating idea, and I wanted this one to land in its own time.
I co-curated the exhibit and I’m thrilled with how each of six other artists expressed their perceptions of Architecture of Dreams
I realize that I’m using the word “surrealist” in a way that may be unfamiliar to some. More than a visionary painting style originated by the Surrealist movement of the last century, Surrealism has a rich trove of poetry, prose and philosophy. I discovered 100 women I’d never heard of in Penelope Rosemont’s Surrealist Women: An International Anthology. Rosemont’s book, Surrealism: Inside the Magnetic Fields, taught me about the art movement’s emphasis on the emancipation of the imagination.
When you ask yourself how the pandemic has changed you, check on the vigor of your imagination. I believe it is the source, the radix, of how we change the world.
The artist does not take herself too seriously. The artist searches for objects and the objects appear, wanting to be placed. Just so. The question to guide the artist is simply this: What pleases the dollhouse mind? The dollhouse mind takes the things the artist cannot throw away. The art of collage reveals nested realities and helps the artist to discover again and again that personal control and outward creation are not one and the same. Construct a geometry where a dreamworld can set up house. Give shelter to thought forms collected from intuitive dimensions and subconscious meanderings. Here, slippery ideas are glued down. Magnetic detritus settles to reveal sigils. Walls of constant shimmer bear the load of memory and tiny windows are enough to see another world. This is a place of exquisite remembering and ecstatic forgetting, a prophecy in past tense. If you cannot free your imagination today, go to sleep. If nothing more, float the furniture. Edit your automatic writing, all the while knowing this to be ridiculous. Be here in this perception before it disappears, for we are woven and broken every second. In any given sphere, the light is ever changing and the laughter more important than all we think we know. Art is magic, strength is required.
-Vicki Krohn Amorose