October 23, 2019 - Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart - Sleeping with a Vengeance, Dreaming of a Life
October 23, 2019

Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart

Alaa Abu Asad performing with Gangart at the opening at Yellow Brick in Athens, 2018. Photo: Sanne Kabalt.

Sleeping with a Vengeance, Dreaming of a Life
October 19, 2019–January 12, 2020

Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart
Schlossplatz 2
70173 Stuttgart


From October 19, 2019, to January 12, 2020, the Württembergischer Kunstverein is showing the most comprehensive version of the exhibition Sleeping with a Vengeance, Dreaming of a Life, which was previously sketched out in Greece, China, and the Czech Republic. The project’s curator, Ruth Noack, has invited more than 40 artists from different cultural contexts to negotiate contemporary politics of sleep and dreaming. In recent decades, sleep has been turned into a resource, tied to production, consumption, warfare, and biopolitics, while people are simultaneously enticed to sleep less and to sleep more productively. How then, can we keep dreaming?

Yet history shows that sleep can turn resistant, for instance when someone sleeps while they should be working or sleeps where they are not supposed to, say in public space. And to dream can be seen as an act toward imagining the good life, as in Martin Luther King’s famous sentence: “I have a dream . . .”

The curatorial model of Sleeping with a Vengeance, Dreaming of a Life posits itself against an art industry’s paradigms of efficiency and production, which stand in no relation to real conditions of production and often deprive exhibitions of their potentiality. The exhibition is instead taken as a medium, which gives us an opportunity to share knowledge and create new meaning.

Begun in 2018 as a series of exhibition sketches, supported jointly by the smallest of institutions, by the curator and the artists who themselves contributed sketches, time, and know-how, Sleeping with a Vengeance, Dreaming of a Life continually evolves with each iteration. At each station, new sketches are added and old ones further fleshed out. Besides the presentation of works, which are developed further, new productions will also be shown at Württembergischer Kunstverein. In addition, the works of the past stations will be presented in an archive in the exhibition room. The memory of the exhibition travels from place to place and is presented in the same way as the new works.

This is not a classic traveling exhibition, but a work in progress. It changes with each respective location and its conditions. It learns from people and from the works of art. Within this open framework, we ask: Can sleep be reclaimed from the clutches of late capitalism? Can it gain subversive force? Can the acts of sleeping and dreaming be imagined as a resistant political deed? Would the sleeper be able to dream up a better life, a better future?

An exhibition by
Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart

Curated by
Ruth Noack

Florencia Almirón, Clara Amaral, Alaa Abu Asad, Ibon Aranberri, Zbyněk Baladrán, Matthijs de Bruijne, Livio Casanova, Ulufer Çelik, Agata Cieślak, Alice Creischer, Chris Curreri, Anna Dacqué, Danica Dakić, Anna Daučíková, Teresa Distelberger, Ines Doujak, Haytham el-Wardany, Gangart, Tina Gverović, Matt Hinkley, Hu Wei, Dominique Hurth, Sanja Iveković, Luis Jacob, Sanne Kabalt, Franz Kapfer, Gülsün Karamustafa, Denisa Lehocká, Miao Ying, Nabuqi, Alejandra Riera, Annette Ruenzler, Jürgen Stollhans, Isabelle Sully, Alia Syed, Leeron Tur-Kaspa, Wendelien van Oldenborgh, Simon Wachsmuth, Xie Nanxing, Xie Qi, Baha Görkem Yalım, Zheng Mahler

For more information about the exhibition as well as the discourse and meditaion program, please visit our website.

Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart
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