Artist Blog

Every week an artist whose single image was published by Der Greif is given a platform in which to blog about contemporary photography.
A stone falls faster than a feather, from We are the ones turning, 2019

I dreamt you were wearing a black suit

Mar 26, 2020 - Ana Zibelnik

In a song by Narat, a Slovenian singer-songwriter, there’s a line: “dreams are written on the bills”. Inspired by these words, in 2014 or so, I started collecting quotes from books and bits of conversations heard on buses, trains and at cafes, writing them down on the backside of bills – the crumpled pieces of paper one always happens to find in a random pocket. They make for great bookmarks, especially when forgotten or left in books never finished. Finding them years later, one could easily reconstruct a reading map out of the cut-off stories, linking them to places where they were consumed, together with lunches, coffees, glasses of wine or stronger spirits. Why had I stopped at this particular point? Did it bore me, was I so shaken I had to stop or did I perhaps not understand? Most likely I had to leave due to some unrelated interruption, closing the book without even having finished the page. Yet sometimes I would come across a sentence and immediately stop. It would mean I had found it – the image. 


I never completely got rid of the habit. Many of my photographs were called into being by exactly such earworm-like sentences, sometimes full passages of books that stuck in my head – with or without context (more often without), of which a common characteristic is a certain sense of mystery, of being unable to properly understand them. It has never been other photographs that would spark my wish to photograph, but words. It is as if what I photograph would make itself visible in the first place only if it resonates with these words. One particular sentence that marked the beginning of a visual direction that We are the ones turning took after failing to be a documentary project is “I dreamt you were wearing a black suit,” which doesn’t even come from a literary work but a phone conversation I heard in 2005. One morning, a relative called, waking up after a weird dream, checking with my father whether he was doing well. The next day, his uncle was found hanging in a shed.