You never need to be afraid to go too far because the truth lives even farther.
This series started as an illustration or, more certainly, a screenplay of my friend’s dreams. We first met after her return from the US. She had a big dream to make films, so she went there to make it come true. But she had to postpone the dream because the first goal was to survive, so she started working in striptease to earn something. A part of the money earned was spent on daily needs, and the other part on psychologist.
Once she told me she started reading a book about proven ways of suicide. At the same time she revealed that she had repeated nightmares for years. I got a strong feeling of importance of what was going to happen after that talk, but the link was not obvious to me even after my own dreams went brighter and more nervous than ever.
Fear of failure in shooting such a subtle matter like dreams was driving me away from the path, so it was hard for me to start. Once I was having a long walk home at night, first under long rain, then accompanied by hard sound of fireworks. I felt frightened by unknown reason. When I got home I found a dead nightingale in the very center of the room. I decided that the gate opened. And in two weeks we shot the first dream.
“…there’s a boiling river or a swamp under me. I’m falling down but at the last moment before touching the surface I stop falling and with great effort, fighting the gravity, start flying,» – she told me. How could I see all that? We went searching for a suitable place. We were wandering all the day and got truly exhausted, and then had a sleep near the river. And we shot everything just after waking up.
We were moving differently. I was going simply by touch, and it was disturbing my friend. She believed me – and did not at the same time. She let me into her unconscious and then closed all the windows and doors, and we were in total darkness. The movement slowed down. I was watching, listening, then arguing and even shouting.
In her dreams she saw her mother with her in a bath full of blood. Her mother was taking her to task, and she wanted to press herself into the wall. I suggested her to become her own mother. And for that we made a rite – she had her hair completely cut and laid down in my bath. Her hair is still in my wardrobe. Soon she stopped having nightmares and became cheery, but I grew nervous instead.
It seems we hated each other. During our last photo session we came across a dead bird. The circle was closed.
It was clear before the start that there was no way back. And here the main fear was likely hidden: to go inside and not to escape. Unconscious area of other person is not as safe as it may seem. There’s a risk to mix other’s dreams with your own, and that’s what happened to me. There’s an opinion that Nietzsche consciously dived into madness, and it seems true to me. My friend became a guide to the place we usually don’t remember or don’t want to remember. A room full of wet bed sheets, shadows on the walls and monsters under your bed.
About Elena Chernyshova
Elena Chernyshova is a visual artist specializing in photography. Born in Siberia in 1989. Elena first worked in documentary field before turning her attention to photo art. Many of her artworks are deeply personal – reflecting on her background and drawing on the experiences of herself and her family and her frends. Exhibitions and of her works have been held in Saint-Petersburg and published in Russian editions.