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«Immediate Archeology»

Series of 5 reliefs, 2017 – 2018, 3D-prints, display cases by the artist

The «Immediate Archeology» series is composed of five plaster reliefs whose outer surfaces show abbreviated hieroglyphs and amorphous shapes which cannot be definitively traced to a specific region or period. The design of the reliefs is based onfragmentary memories of the artist’sdreams following a visit to DaLi (China).
For five nights Herren recorded his dreams immediately after waking up, using rudimentary ink drawings done with his eyes closed. The drawings were designed to serve as a memory aid, making it easier to formulate a memory of the dreams later on.
Of particular interest was the posthumous dream-narration, composed in words and made up of the sepictorial memory aids and recollections. As the temporal distance from dreams increases, they move from arelatively sober documentation towards a multitude of fictional tales and interpretations. Philosophers in DaLi have been studying this topic for centuries. In particular, scholars have been investigating the relationship between pictures and the subsequent interpretation, which is influenced by context. An example of this is work with so-called «dreamstones» (stones native to the region), whose marbelling is reminiscent of Chinese paintings.

It was once believed that the stones preserved people’smemories of their dreams. This is why people have been writing interpretations directly on to the marbelling of such stones for more than 500 years. For five days Herren encouraged a lively exchange with the interpreters, and presented his own drawings for them to interpret. Herren then had the drawings enlarged together with the interpretations, built them into a three-dimensional shape and had them printed as reliefs usinga 3D printer. Using a machine to give them material form led to the emergence of a sediment composed of personal memory, external interpretation and surrendered authorship. The reliefs are the result of Christian Herren’s theoretical and personal engagement with his own dreams. Herren sees changing capacity for memory in individual dream stories as an abstract form of archeology. The finished artwork retains visible traces which the viewer is free to reinterpret.