Last Night I Dreamt I was Venus from Beyond the Mirrors
Acclaimed artist Tai Shani exclusively presents an exciting new commission centred around Salvador Dali’s iconic Dream of Venus Pavilion . This fantastical and ambitious project incorporates rarely seen archival materials, an elaborately costumed large cast, and props which reference Dali’s prescient performance fun house.
Last Night I Dreamt I was Venus from Beyond the Mirrors begins in the spring of 1977. Filming had commenced on the doomed “Dreaming in the Arms of Others”, a biopic of the life and times of Norma Ohne, a young Midwestern aspiring starlet of German descent who played the dreaming Venus in Salvador Dali’s “Dream of Venus Pavilion” at the 1939 World Fair. After a series of set - backs and dramas , the film was finally abandoned. On the evening of the 24th of July, on the pavilion set, during the 16th take of the “dream close - up shot”, Mona Horne , the actress playing the dreaming Ohne, identified so profoundly with the character she was playing and acted so convincingly that she was never to wake up again.
Suspended in kaleidoscopic temporality and caught inside the fractured, cinematic interiors of her character, Mona Horne encounters her past, future, parallel and subconscious selves. The lives and fictions of Mona Horne, Norma Ohne and the strange pavilion itself overflow and collide, haemorrhaging into each other creating a spiralling narrative told through visions, film and archival materials.
The performance is accompanied by a live score by multi-instrumentalist/composer Daniel O’Sullivan best known for playing in experimental art-rock bands Guapo , Ulver , Æthenor , Mothlite and Miasma & the Carousel of Headless Horses . Daniel is also a floating member of experimental drone masters Sunn O)))
O'Sullivan has become recognized for exploring a wide range of styles, including neo-classical composition, progressive/psychedelic rock, free-form improvisation, cosmic jazz, minimalist drone, ethereal pop and outer-limits folk music to name a few.
Soundtrack and archival images courtesy of Queens Museum of Art, from the Jean Farley Levy and Julien Levy Estate, partial gift of Eric Strom, 2004