Sur la route après l'insomnie
Matthieu Haberard
Opening: March 24, 2017
Exhibition: March 25-May 6, 2017

“When the evening comes, I return home and enter my study. At the threshold, I cast off my peasant’s clothes, filled with dirt and excrement. I then get dressed in splendid court garments and, suitably attired, step into the columned halls of the great ancients. Received by them in friendship, I nourish myself there with food meant for me alone, that for which I was born. There, no shame holds me back from talking to them, asking them why they did certain things; and they condescend to answer me. For four hours, I have no worries. I forget my sorrows, am not afraid of poverty. Death does not scare me. I completely enter their world.” 

Niccolo Macchiavelli, Letters From Exile

A friend had sent me a YouTube link via email from another time zone, it was late here. We had recently been chatting about my sleeping problems. I was sitting close to the window staring at a yellow street light, unable to find the much needed rest.

Schnittke’s teetering, rabid violin cut through the room; I could almost feel the tense discords, the visceral notes retracing the thoughts that kept me awake. These unhinged violins spoke of nocturnal figments, they rhymed effortlessly with the silence of the night, with my uneasy mind.

The next morning I wanted to revive this intimate encounter with “Preludium in Memoriam Dmitri Shostakovich for two violins”, but I was unable to recreate the effect. The whole piece seemed ill placed, it almost hurt in the clarity of daylight. The discords that resonate with the nocturnal self were no longer compliant with the diurnal one.

Insomnia and the small dark hours of the night with time bent, open another mindset: The night becomes a trope for the unthought and the unthinkable. 8 hours of sleep is a rather recent invention. Staying awake, not being able to fall asleep, I remember Proust writing about the night being “a thing without a cause, incomprehensible, a thing truly dark”

This phenomenological experience of the world after dark has numerous sediments in philosophy, fiction and cinema; The night as a sanctuary, a promise, a chance. Even if it must inevitably succumb to the light of dawn, this aesthetically reimagined night veers towards the infinite, insofar as we are willing to engage with the intensities and ideas it contains. It harbours the hope that the past will continue to affect the future.

Matthieu Haberard, born 1991 in Toulouse; lives and works in Paris. Recent exhibitions include Insomnia market, ENSBA (Paris, 2016), A Thousand Friends (part 2), New Jörg (Vienna, 2016), Beauloss, Lastresort Gallery, curated by Antoine Donzeaud (Copenhagen, 2016), DOC, Doc, curated by Joey Tang (Paris, 2015), C’est la vie, Occidental temporary, curated by Neil Beloufa (Villejuif, 2015).