Slumber with a Key

Slumber with a Key by Vanessa Woods
7″x5″; collage; 2020. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Fischer Gallery.


Slumber with a Key

at Jack Fischer Gallery-Minnesota Street Project in San Francisco, California, USA
18 July-29 August 2020

“Slumber with a Key” is a group exhibition that draws on surrealist tendencies to delve into the subconscious and generate imagery from dreams. In dark times, artists have frequently turned to dreams as a source of inspiration, a retreat from reason, and a space for exploring imagination and desire. The exhibition’s title draws from Salvador Dali’s manual, 50 Secrets of Magic Craftsmanship, which aimed to provoke encounters with the subconscious. When “slumbering with a key,” the artist took a brief nap “less than a quarter of a second long” to channel the fluid space between wake and sleep. According to Dali, in this liminal space, sensations and perceptions of the day re-surfaced as hypnagogic images.

As the surrealists did in the 1930s, the artists in “Slumber with a Key” exploit the unpredictable outcomes of chance and collaboration in an effort to subvert the “rational” world. For the show, each participating artist contributed a dream to be dropped into a hat and redistributed to another artist. Seven artists from the Jack Fischer Gallery each invited an artist from outside the gallery roster to participate, fostering a chain reaction. The resulting show presents each artist’s interpretation of another artist’s dream in a range of media including collage, painting and sculpture. Despite using different media and approaches, the work is connected by imagined psychological spaces that excavate the human psyche and undermine reason.

“Slumber with a Key” displays a constellation of diverse works and media that collectively evoke the experience of dreaming. Through playful collaboration, the 13 artists from across the United States and Europe undermine the complacency of our times. As Jorge Luis Borges said, the artists in the show “admit [to]…the hallucinatory character of the world–” a world that is in dire need of re-examination and re-invention. Participating artists include Mari Andrews, Eiko Borcherding, Marc D’Estout, Robert Hardgrave, Catie O’Leary, Leif Low-Beer, Victoria May, Gina Pearlin, Beverly Rayner, Walter Robinson, Martin Scholten, Vanessa Woods and Balint Zsako. Programming around the show will also be made available via Instagram TV and other remote platforms.

(text adapted from the gallery’s press materials)


Jack Fischer Gallery – Minnesota Street Project
1275 Minnesota Street
San Francisco, California 94107 USA
(415) 522-1178

Tuesday-Saturday, 11AM-5PM by appointment only