Dr. Sleep - Hsu Yinling Solo Exhibition
Dr. Sleep’s Fatigue and Hope
I’ve always approached art through various ways of shaping the world that we dwell in. With Dr. Sleep, the subject of sleeping disorder is used to tell the tale of our social environment. The artworks are treated as segments of bedside stories depicted on canvases, and the inspiration behind these stories is derived from different sleeping rituals (personal habits of sleep aid accumulated from an extensive period of time).
“I never listen to you, and this is why I now need to listen to the voices of many people in order to fall asleep.”
This is my very own sleeping ritual, and is also the origin of this series.
I am an “actionaholic”, which differs from workaholic due to the lack of efficiency. I habitually sacrifice sleep because of the sense of satisfaction I get from repeated actions of painting and also from starting over. But you are different; you often unceremoniously tell me at midnight that you are a great dreamer, and there are so many things that you want to do but don’t know where to begin. This is the limit of my conversation with you, as I follow with the nonchalant reply of, “Just go do them.” Because of this, I have always matter-of-factly thought that your insomnia was due to the fact that you have not fully exhausted your physical strength, and hence, you were not sleepy. I wasn’t aware then that you had so many voices and signals inside your head that couldn’t be turned off, and more terrifyingly was that the accumulated sleep deprivation is comparable to racing with a turtle, with you thinking that you have surpassed him, but in fact, you’ve never even passed by each other. You were anxious about not finding the final destination and were also unable to return to the starting point, and had to resort to medication to conclude each day through external help.
Several years later, I realized that “insomnia” should entail symptoms containing narratives and not assessments; it is not an illness, but rather, it is caused by the telling of an external story, with images full of sensory signals that couldn’t be turned off, such as the dripping sounds from the bathroom, the sounds of rocks clashing derived from the gas stove switch, humming sounds from the air conditioner, aroma of the bread, and any gestures that projected sounds…These inorganic sounds, information, and images infiltrating our everyday life have such an impact on the ultra sensitive you for everything happening around you, as you also feel the gestures of those around you. But you then become anxious, because you couldn’t recall their faces, and have come to realize that perhaps you are also unseen just like them. When the night falls, you endlessly recount the countless people that you will pass by tomorrow, with the never-ending sensory signals turned into forgotten fragments. However, perhaps within these fragments is an opportunity waiting for you to make a turnaround and stimulate some changes. The role of Dr. Sleep is fabricated by me, as I also hide behind this character. I am unable to diagnose you, but I could help you find a suitable sleeping ritual to shut off everything.
I think we all need a shell of Dr. Sleep for us to hide inside and to listen and share with the people around us suffering from the same problem. The approach of bedside story resembles the state of hypnosis, as it is a charmingly sweet gesture used to occupy a portion of the person’s heart. Dr. Sleep and the sleeping ritual must simultaneously exist inside the heart in order for this to work, or perhaps, they have long been in our hearts, but we are often at loss with the courage to communicate. After a while, this situation imposes an immense sense of fatigue, and this feeling of exhaustion is a collective experience shared by everyone in the society. A civilized society does indeed possess such despotic power, as it fills our hearts with a twisted sense of security. Our society is constructed based on such weak links that go from the smallest personal states of mind extending outwards in concentric circles covering other interpersonal relationships and further reaching other social and national dispositions, as they appear inside each person under an image that is infinitely enlarged. Perhaps there is no exit, and perhaps you will begin to feel that it is increasingly more difficult for stories in this world to come to a happily-ever-after ending.
Nevertheless, I believe as long as we try to face them, things will take on a different course.
一直以來的創作都以不同的方式去塑造出我們所生存的世界，這次選擇借用 Dr. Sleep 睡眠博士的立場透過睡眠障礙的主題說出跟這個社會環境有關的故事， 我將這次的作品畫面設定為一段段發生在畫布上的床邊故事，這些故事的發想則是透過許多的睡眠儀式（長時間養成在睡前幫助入眠的個人習慣）演變而來。
> HSU Yinling 許尹齡