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Zzzzz: Sleep, Somnambulism, Madness
Curator: Mark Feary

5 October -
3 November 2018

Gertrude Contemporary

21-31 High St, Preston VIC 3072

Opening: Friday 5 October, 6-8pm

Zzzzz: Sleep, Somnambulism, Madness assembled and commissioned works by a selection of Australian and international artists to explore the representation of the sleeping figure within contemporary art, and how artists attempt to explore ideas of the subconscious, delirium and altered states. Other works within the exhibition explored the politics of sleep in our rapidly evolving times to consider the impacts of work and economic pressures upon relaxation. At times serene and tender, and at others deeply disturbing, the exhibition considered what transpires during our sleeping life as a means to reflect upon the relationship between our physical being and mental processes, consciousness and subconscious.

Depictions of sleeping figures have featured heavily in the history of Western painting and sculpture, often rendered to suggest beauty, vulnerability, sexuality or fatigue. This project dismissed passive representations to cast a lens on how artists attempt to make sense of the process of dreaming, its mysteries and potentialities as a critically vital, and little-understood function helping us to make sense of the world and in the formation and suppression of memory.


  • Ronnie van Hout
  • Javier Téllez
  • The Telepathy Project
  • Erica Spitzer Rasmussen
  • Kate Mitchell
  • Barbora Kleinhamplová and Tereza Stejskalová
  • Mabel Juli
  • Lee Hadwin
  • Chicks on Speed
  • Andy Warhol

Zzzzz: Sleep, Somnambulism, Madness was presented in partnership with the Melbourne International Arts Festival and Murray Art Museum Albury.

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Gertrude Contemporary

21-31 High Street
Preston South VIC
Melbourne, Australia

Opening hours:
Tuesday–Sunday 11am–5pm

Gertrude Glasshouse

44 Glasshouse Road
Collingwood VIC
Melbourne, Australia

Opening hours:
Thursday–Saturday 12–5pm