Ludivine Thomas-Andersson

Ludivine Thomas Anderson
Displacing Territories

back to the overview I deutschsprachige Version des Textes

Ludivine Thomas-Andersson approaches the penetration of migration experiences into the dream of refugees and migrants in different ways and with the help of different media.  At the beginning of her artistic exploration there was her preoccupation with migratory birds such as the lesser thrush and the white-throated bunting, which can sleep with one eye closed during flight to other regions of the world. In this way, they extend their waking phases and are more mobile. 

Thomas-Andersson interviewed eight artists with migration experience in Berlin about the nature of their dreams. The interviewees are introduced in photos on clipboards which are mounted on a ledge, and visitors can browse through their interviews. The interviewees from Iran, England, the Netherlands, India, Romania, Venezuela and Argentina as well as Brazil, generally report a profound need for sleep in order to process the experiences of escape and migration. At the same time, the migrants speak of a lack of sleep and sleep disorders. Daydreams are also important for the narratives of migration experiences as a motor for decisions to choose Berlin as a new place to live.

The artist extracted recurring motifs from the interviews and used them to create a fictional narrative. Her aim is to create a new understanding of the experience.  Thomas-Andersson points out that the dreams are as much about dependencies and systems of dominance as they are about desires, making a new start and courage and strength. In a small hut built from birch logs and fabrics, visitors can listen to the dream motifs they shared. For this, it is necessary to press one´s ear deep into one of the cushions with loudspeakers in order to be able to hear the voices. The 20-minute sound piece entitled “Sleep, Ultimate Refuge”, runs in a continuous loop and can be heard simultaneously but with a slight time lag on three cushions in the wooden hut. In the dream descriptions, the current and the previous life are interwoven, individual dream sequences repeat themselves and certain places and individual encounters reappear again and again in the migrants` dreams. In the intimacy of the hut and with their heads on a cushion, visitors can experience the importance of places of retreat and protection in order to sleep soundly and dream peacefully, something that can easily be underestimated.  Thomas-Andersson used artificial intelligence to create images from the interview partners` description of dreamed about places, which the artist then reproduced using an old photographic printing process with blue tones (Cyanotype).

Using this combination of two very different image processes, he has created the impression of slightly dislodged dream images. A waterfall, a forest path and views of a mountain convey a sense of being on the move, while at the same time, conveying a longing for peace and relaxation in places devoid of people. A photograph entitled “Sky”, which shows the artist working on a large-format oil painting, also supports the dreamlike atmosphere in the exhibition area. In keeping with the artist`s preoccupation with migratory birds, Thomas-Andersson paints a bird´s-eye view of clouds and a rural landscape consisting of rivers and fields. Musical sounds are equally important in the artistic treatment of the interweaving of migration and dreams.

Thomas-Andersson transformed the location of lakes on a map  on to a punch card that visitors can play with the help of a componium. This mechanical instrument from the 19th century sets the topography of the lakes in motion and produces sounds. By manually turning the small crank, the map also moves and simulates the movement of a journey. A dream-like structure emerges between the different media accesses, consisting of inner images, condensed atmospheres and moods that cannot be fully rationalised.  The artist´s objective is to show the strength and courage that people require when migrating against many odds to an uncertain and sometimes not very welcoming living environment. In Thomas-Andersson´s artwork, sleep and dreams symbolise a poetic, but also political approach to migration. In the fragility of dreams, we can recognise the vulnerability and need for protective shelter of people who are forced to migrate.

Text: Dr. Silke Förschler

About Thomas-Andersson

Born in 1986, the French artist Ludivine Thomas-Andersson lives and works in Lesjöfors in Sweden. Graduated with a Master of Fine Arts obtained in 2012 at the National Art College of Paris-Cergy (E.N.S.A.P.C), she is active in the field of contemporary arts, especially through exhibitions in France, Sweden, Malta, Belgium and soon Germany. She co-founded the artist-run-space Tables.empty.workshop in 2016 in Montargis (FRA) and became Art History Lecturer at the Örebro art school (SWE) in 2017.