The reality is multi-layered and fluid. When we come across something scary on one of its layers, we want to move to another as quickly as possible to avoid the threatening encounter. The Dream X 2, Escapist Techniques exhibition introduces the works of Harut Hovsepyan and Anna Savi that examine sleep as a form of escape from reality.
Harut reveals the essence of the first 'technique' – in his works, dreaming acts as a portal to the world of pure serenity. The figures on his canvases seem to float above reality as if hovering surrounded by mundane details. Sleepy oblivion gives the characters the suppleness of saints from ancient icons and the sense of hovering in immobility.
At the same time, a deep interest in colour and childlike enthusiasm for the research subject can be traced through all of Harut's work. The artist is deeply interested in colour refraction inside a dream. An important concept of his somnambulistic painting practice is liberation – for him sleep implies the realisation of an impulse that goes beyond space and time. The expanses of the dream world become saturated with colour, which is liberated from shapes and volumes. The allusion to children's themes is reflected in two different ways in the two series presented at the show. The Dream series depicts sleeping people surrounded by children's toys, while Journey to Childhood contains works evocative of children's doodles. These two ways of addressing the childlike – through the attributes and the worldview – introduce the same component in different ways, the standpoint of the artist, reduced to a childlike naive admiration for shapeless colour tints.
Anna's works allude to the opposite idea of sleep as a brutal, oppressive state of hypersomnia. This state introduces a certain distortion into our experience of brushing against reality, as a result of which its layers begin to fuse. Anna's sculptures subtly capture the line between the inside and the outside. They bring to mind the avant-garde's negative space sculptures – such as Kazuo Shiraga's works, which were casts of his own body half-buried in the ground. Sculptures like this turn the classical painting principle inside out, concealing the depicted as a cavity, thereby hiding it from the viewer and acting as an antagonist of classical sculpture, which brings its subject outward, towards the viewer.
Both tendencies can be observed throughout Anna's works – on the one hand, the viewer faces the front surface of the object, the boundary beyond which the dense substance of the work begins without cavities. However, the outer surface imperceptibly passes into the inner one, facing what leaves traces on it. Moreover, in this position, the surface emphasises the absence of what has left the traces on it. Each work becomes a tangible metaphor for the disturbing permeability of the boundary between two layers of reality.
Consequently, Anna Savi's sculptures introduce two techniques of escaping from reality that are relevant in today's world. The first of them invites the viewer to say a definite 'yes' to the new layer that is opening towards us, while the second one, by dissolving the already illusory boundary between the layers of reality, urges the viewer to say 'no' to the world around us.