Mark's Dream

2009


Mark's Dream - video still


Video editing, 10’16’’.






Mark’s dream is the first of three montages making up the Three dreams collection, within the series Lora’s Tears. Each devoted to a film starring Gene Tierney, they offer an array of expressions of the theme of sleep by working in elements that invite visitors to re-view the works at hand through the eyes of a dreamer.

Created from several sequences borrowed from Laura, Mark’s dream, in a similar manner to Rain/Pain and Split, proposes a variant based on Pablo Picasso’s Weeping Woman. The portrait’s composition is notably evoked within the montage through a cross fade directly borrowed from Otto Preminger’s work, in which Gene Tierney’s face is overlain by that of Clifton Webb, who plays the role of Waldo Lydecker, Laura’s forceful mentor. By combining one face in profile with another viewed straight-on, the cross fading of the images creates an effect of re-orientation comparable to that seen in the portrait, which, by virtue of the nature of the elements woven together, serves as a pretext for apprehending the complexity of the figure shown in the painting, the tie that binds the model to the artist, or indeed to emphasise the subjective nature of Dora Maar’s duality in many of Pablo Picasso’s representations of her.

The montage is arranged around a pivotal moment in the film, where Laura’s character reappears, having been supposed dead by all of the other protagonists until that point. Occurring after Lieutenant Mark McPherson (Dana Andrews) drifts off to sleep in an armchair, her appearance takes on a dreamlike dimension capable of impinging upon our perception of the rest of the work – which can be interpreted as deriving entirely from the detective’s dream, in a similar manner to the plot of Fritz Lang’s The Woman in the Window. The montage manipulates this hypothesis on various levels, re-enacting Laura’s incarnation through a number of different formulations.

Clearly, the subject matter of Mark’s dream regards the process leading to the creation of Picasso’s canvas. The repeated association of Gene Tierney’s face with Laura’s portrait leads us into manifold problematics concerning the process through which a visual work is created and underscores the tendency of the portrait to incarnate, or indeed vampirise its model.

Much like the other montages from the Three Dreams collection, the work constitutes above all a pretext to linger on the face of Gene Tierney. Raised up to new heights of beauty through the slow-motion effect that further defines its presence, displacing its intensity and introducing a sense of nostalgia as it is displayed, it is presented as a malleable entity continually re-moulded by the optical movements of the camera, which run either forwards or in reverse. In this ethereal state, the face appears as a fragile surface, as gossamer-fine as the smoke exhaled by the actress. It thus takes on a fantasmal dimension, reflecting the memories spectators are likely to hold of Gene Tierney – given physical form by the sleeping detective within the montage. Mark’s mild intoxication, in its own way, reflects that of Laura’s audience, after having imbibed the sensations inspired by the actress’s presence throughout the projection and at its end.

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Copyright © 2016 Laurent Fiévet