Iranian artist Maryam Ashkanian's hand-sewn ‘Sleep Series’ consists of embroidered drawings of sleeping people and their dream states. Ashkanian uses the concept of the dream as a way of getting audiences to enter a very different relationship with her portraiture. She states, “Pillows are a metonymy of a dream,” and “Every person has a close relationship with his or her pillow."
Sunday, 1 November 2020
Maryam Ashkanian: The stitched line
Because the pillows are stuffed, the sewn on portraits are subject to puckering which alters the play of light across the surface of the pillows. As part of their process of metamorphosis they begin to resemble clouds, forms that we often use to help trigger a dream like state of imaginative play.
The Sleep Series was inspired by the notion that we become who we really are when we’re asleep. Working from photographs, Ashkanian creates line drawings of sleeping people which she then embroiders onto her handmade pillows.
Presentation is as always important and Ashkanian floats her pillows in box frames behind glass, slightly distancing them and taking away their tactile 'reality' so that you are forced to imagine their texture rather than touch it. Touch is one of our key tests when it comes to reality, putting things behind glass therefore heightens a sense of something being 'untouchable' or 'unreal'.