The Galerie Paris-Beijing is pleased to present a comprehensive insight into Ghost of a Dream’s most recent developments within their artistic practice, which invites us to reflect on today’s escapist society and its cultural aspirations.
The New York-based collaborative Ghost of a Dream, comprised of sculptor Lauren Was and painter Adam Eckstrom documents and critically explores the futile hopes and dreams of contemporary materialist society that is constantly on the search for a newer, better life. Their work focus on the different activities people de- lusively engage in to realize their dreams of instantaneous gratification: from gambling to reading romance novels or watching romantic movies. Was and Eckstrom mine popular culture for real people’s discarded dreams, such as old lottery tickets, romance novels, baseball cards, trophies, art postcards or so-called “nudie cards”. These escapist objects form the material from which the artists re-create the faded hopes and dreams into large-scale immersive installations, sculptures, collages or text-based work. Their show in the Galerie Paris-Beijing plays with the bitter discrepancies between fantasy and reality and asks to which expense the universal (and often simultaneous) quest for wealth, success and perfect romance actually comes.
The fine line between appearance and reality is tested in Ghost of a Dream’s series of collages, sculptures comprised of countless strangers’ competition trophy bases, or in their site-specific wall drawings. In Triumph and Tragedy (2013) we are reminded that “One man’s loss is another man’s gain”: closer inspection reveals that the word we read from a distance, ‘Triumph’, in fact consists of the one same word that is written over and over again like a mantra: tragedy.
A similar unsettling discovery is inherent within the diametric contradiction of what from afar appears to be a drawing of a sunset, yet upon closer inspection reveals to be no more than countless multi-colored lines of the word “tragedy” (Tragedy Sunset 2013). Sunsets represent the moment of perfect, lasting romance, yet rarely live up to what the promise. For their multi-media installation This mess between us (2013) Was and Eckstrom scoured through numerous films to amass a digital archive of sunsets that play on an loop on countless television sets. Critically exploring the role of the media in creating and fostering such fantasies in society, they confront us with our own habits of seeking comfort and hope for perfect love in movies. Their immersive work hauntingly reminds us that many of our fantasies and dreams, creating a bright future that will never exist, make us lose much more than we will ever gain.
Lauren Was and Adam Eckstrom were both born in the USA and met while attending the Rhode Island School of Design. Eckstrom received a MFA Painting (Honors) in 2005 and Was a MFA Sculpture (Honors) in 2004. Their collaboration began in 2006 when they became intrigued by the question of what people dream about when they buy a lottery ticket. They founded the collaborative Ghost of a Dream in 2007 and a year later made their first piece in the Easy Money series, The Dream Car. Their work has been exhibited in Europe, China and int the USA and also has been featured in The Guardian (London), The Independent (London), Time Out (New York), and ArtForum.com among other publications. Ghost of a Dream have had various residencies in Germany, Switzerland, USA and France. The collabo- rative has been the recipient of the 2013 Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant and the Jerome Foundation grant and received the first annual Young Masters Art Prize in London in 2009. They have had solo exhibitions notably at the Hunterdon Art Museum, New Jersey (2012) and were featured in group shows at the Courtauld Institute of Art (2009).