Im/perfect Slumbers

November 7, 2022 – February 26, 2023 

An extension of textile artist and researcher Katya Oicherman’s long-term residency at the M, this series of installations and programs explores the complexity of human sleep and its material attendants by seeking diverse voices of artists, writers, and cultural activists to capture the contemporary, urgent, and immediate state of sleeping and being in bed.

Bed, in its multiple shapes, is a place where we spend a substantial part of our life time. It is an answer to a basic necessity, a place where we sleep, but also a place where we are commonly born and give birth, lie in sickness and die, make love, dream and have nightmares, relax or lie restless, being visited by the troubled conscience or insomnia. It is a lonely place and a shared place, and often crucial discussions happen there, on the verge of falling asleep. Imagination and memory both go astray in bed, often in bed we read and watch movies. The absorbent material of sheets and covers metaphorically bears maps of our mental voyages, those we’ve experienced, those we’ve imagined, and those we’ve read about or have seen on the screen.

The goal of Im/perfect Slumbers is to enliven the significance of being in bed and offer an ever-slight opening to envisage alternatives to the frenzied, glorified rallies of sleepless productivity—to take a break, to reflect, to dream.

These initial activities, presented in the M’s windows and skyways, will culminate in a large-scale group exhibition in 2024, which will include historical and contemporary textiles from the museum collection and local archives, and artworks commissioned from local and international artists.

Homespun, hand sewn linen sheets ca.1880s; Minnesota Historical Society material collections; num. 63.123.24

Photograph by Katya Oicherman