Interview by Diletta Accorroni

Thanks to an epiphany at Palazzina Liberty Dario Fo e Franca Rame in Milan, the polyandric artist and singer Reverie makes a surprising performance where the oneiric dimension becomes the mean to voice real fear and joy. Because to feel free in our ‘virally affected actuality’ we can only use words, and IG hypereality is only a way to show a ‘dirty’ everyday life, like in a dream or a performance with no rehearsal.

Could you please tell us about your performance ‘Sogno 2’? Which kind of experience has it been?

‘The Sleeping Muse’ is a single title for two distinct but related artworks. The first arises from an obsession: it is a sign of rupture even if harmonious with the past; the second stems from a daydream and from a daily relationship with the roots that I am building in the city that I feel home for my progress. Two years ago, walking in Milan near my studio, I found myself in front of the Palazzina Liberty Dario Fo e Franca Rame. I had never entered but I knew its history and I had virtually appreciated the events that the Municipality dedicates to Music and which had hosted Poetry even before. My imagination had an epiphany that day: the idea of ​​the performance was born at that moment, I just had to listen to it, then voice. It took two years to make it happen. In fact, like all my projects, it is a dense, intense and constant process: first the idea then the writing, the realization of every single element for the performance, the performance shared with the public and lived at the moment without rehearsals, the collection of material, the synthesis work and the final physical works. This time I changed the orders of the factors. Before writing, was born a sculpture that gave the title to the performance. In fact, I created a ‘Sleeping Muse’ from a live cast of my face combined with grafts of nature including a rose. With her closed eyes she represented the moment of the most intense and therefore true dreams, and, from Brancusian echo as it was, a concrete humanity compared to the perfection of the harmony of beauty.

The lyrics then came from the public: since last January, in fact, I opened a format on my site named ‘chorus of dreams’ through which anyone in a known or anonymous form could send me a dream memory of any kind. The files were backed up and I printed them on the day of the performance to sing them for the first time in a dynamic, multiform and unrestricted flow: a free and alive ‘choral’ a cappella singing that was meant to exorcise everyone’s lives and which, as in a dream in which the most diverse images and experiences following one another, had to change every time. On stage I was apparently alone in a dress of my own construction on which I had printed dreams dedicated to the future, written in November 2019.
Actually, I wasn’t alone: we were together, all, a choir and a conductor who faced our lives singing the fears, the sufferings of the lockdown, the joys, the memories of loved ones, the unexpected, the nostalgia… we found ourselves closer.

My performances usually last from twelve to sixteen hours up to three days. This was a unicum of four and a half hours. I had never used the voice for so long and I had never tried to sing by inventing melodies for lyrics which I had to not only read for the first time but through which I had to convey meaning. I focused on living the moment without acting as always in my practice: I didn’t think how to do it, but I simply did it. I was very happy to know both from the audience present and from those who virtually benefited from the action that the message arrived, in different forms but everyone felt a shock, a reaction.

Sleeping Muse_Reverie, Sogno 2, Milan, Palazzina Liberty Dario Fo e Franca Rame, September 2020, Photo Letizia Mugri

‘Coro di sogni’ was released yesterday, the December 4th and will be presented today, through a live broadcast. It happens on the occasion of Giornata del Contemporaneo, on the EMA Vinci Official channel, along with Raffaella Perna, Franco Guerzoni and Giuseppe Arnesano. Would you please tell us more about the idea of this sort of ‘shared’ record made out of dreams? What inspired you?

Usually after each performance I make sculptures, ceramics, books… physical artworks. This time, however, it is the intangibility of the voice that wins over the present time. ‘chorus of dreams’, born from the performance ‘Sogno 2: The Sleeping Muse’, is a first experiment linked to the dream world in a virtual format: an album with 146 tracks or all the dreams sung during the last performance. I wanted them to be as they were born free, open and listenable without difficulty for everyone, both by those who had been the authors of the dream memories through the format, and by those who, through listening, will be able to find themselves in somehow linked to the others’ lives… What inspired me was the only possible freedom in our virally affected actuality: that of words. Despite my name and my essence, I walk with my feet firmly planted on the ground.

What is the link, in your opinion, between Life and Art?

Art is the woman I married. The engine of every step-breath. The reason for my every moon sunrise. The Elsewhere in this present. The present in this Elsewhere. I wear a wedding ring engraved with our names and the date of our symbolic marriage. From that moment on, I am devoted to her alone in body and purity. In art I was born, but in its rediscovery I understood my progress in the world. The art-life relationship is common to many artists. I didn’t choose it. It was born living and it was like waking up from a concrete dream made of roses that have thorns, of pains that have healings, of encounters that are occasions, of opus that means to operate, of dialogue that are keys of learning, of actions that expose the Infinity…

This is a personal story, a life as a couple without anyone ever being pushed aside. I do not split art and life. Every aspect of one is a prerequisite for growth, for the existence of the other.

Considering what you say and your works, it is easy to understand the importance that symbols have both for you and for your poetic. Could you explain this? Also, which ones represent you more so far?

Type, emblem and representation of moral objects. Symbols have bodies but not endowed with autonomy, they cannot ‘throw’ without being ‘together’. The first by ancient tradition is the ring, and so for me. As I anticipated, since 6 July 2016 I’ve been wearing a wedding ring on which, together with the date, ‘Arte e Reverie’ is engraved. I have chosen to seal this union in a private performance, an atheist wedding. Speaking of roses, from the union of meanings of this immense multiform flower – which for me represents art itself – a personal graft was born with the lily: my rosagiglio. The latter and ring are certainly my constants. Every existence has its symbols that sanction changes: today my method is summed up in the pearl, my future dream in the spider, my relationship with Time in the egg-matrix, my memento of death and fragility are my hands and fingers without nails, my deep solitude in the sun, the dawn that every morning I meet in the moon, the symbolic element of my body that I imagine and feel in the need to use are the hair, the symbolic element outside my body that I am building are the wings… the symbol of my essence lies in the naked truth that as a body it is the shadow.

Sleeping Muse_Reverie, Sogno 2, Milan, Palazzina Liberty Dario Fo e Franca Rame, September 2020, Photo Letizia Mugri

Your given name is a dedication to the ‘Poetics of Reverie’ by Bachelard. Which kind of relationship do you have with an element such as that of the Dream?

I don’t think there is a ‘more perfect’ habitat for me than my name. Since childhood, the dream dimension has had a profound importance. I grew up alone and in my island I had to teach me concreteness as well as to play. Even to travel for me had a double value: it was the ‘place’ where I could really daydream.

I had a very difficult childhood and adolescence and imagination with open eyes saved me.
Thanks to it, I met poetry. Thanks to it I understood the truth of the souls of everyone I met. Thanks to it, I easily found me. And like everything in my life first physically experienced and then deepened, I never stopped studying the dream world from every point of view. From philosophy to psychoanalysis, from science to art itself. I decided two years ago to start a cycle on this theme because I was aware of having developed a personal alphabet that I felt would be collectively useful nowadays.

I don’t know when, but according to its nature the cycle will have an end. But my relationship with the dream will only run out with my death.

A peek into your Instagram profile has led me to two different impressions that I’d like you to confirm or deny. The first is that it embodies a sort of meticulous work in progress – which is still open, with unpredictable results- and thanks to this you have built, piece by piece, your artistic personality. The second one is that every definition one might give to your work, ends up evoking superficiality and inaccuracy. So, I do believe that the definition that best suits you is that of a complete Artist, who goes with supreme nonchalance from photography to theater, from music to performance, from writing to dance. Do you agree with me?

Thank you for your words.
To be honest, the last place to understand my work is that of hyperreality even if like all my contemporaries I have my left hand in the virtual world. I say this because I had decided not to share anything of my large production of physical artworks which is that part of my cycle that I care about the most. But I recently changed my mind. Your vision is therefore well directed but limited by walls which, however, I have decided to open. I have chosen to eliminate those barriers that limit the understanding, enjoyment and freedom that the works of art should always be nourished with.

I use social networks to tell a ‘dirty’ everyday life of mine: the days of research and reading, of ceramics and foundry, of simplicity, of continuous cooking, of rising at four to see the lunar dawn, of kilos and kilos of fullness and then emptiness take aways, of strolling, of breathing, of singing, of meetings, of studying, of solitude… From my everyday life come my aesthetics and the root of my research.

Just as in reality I usually live in the world in purity and in truth without filters or masks, the same way I do it in an universe, the virtual one, in which it is usual to show oneself through constructions. This is also a wall but I have never raised it. In my opinion, it is as close as possible to the dream: the only dimension in which we can never hide from ourselves, ever.

As for the disciplines you mention, I specify that I never wanted to respond to certain labels. Each time I simply understood the needs of the new project that was coming to life and chose the best means and expression to give it body, tangible or intangible. Specifically, then the performances are for me moments of real life with the public for which I have to be constantly present and that is why I never carry out rehearsal but I build everything that is necessary and then I just leap myself into it. Therefore, I do not consider theater or dance or singing in their most professional root aspects that in the strict sense can be linked to me: I will not replicate a work, I will not perform the same gesture, I won’t sing the same note…

Coming to your Masters: who are your Phares and your inspirations?

The image of the Phares is precious.
For my existence as a woman, I answer Baudelaire’s albatross; for my relationship with the male, Louise Bourgeois. My oracle is Gaston Bachelard.
The visitation is Chris Burden.
The Master is Luigi Ontani.
Poetry is Futurism.
The fruit is Yoko Ono.
The feather is Rebecca Horn.
The hand is Ketty La Rocca.
The white dress is Gina Pane
The mirror is Joan Jonas…
I could go on without an end…
We are not absolute values.
We are not unique beings.

Click here to download The Sleeping Muse album by Reverie 

And watch here the live performance on Saturday, December 5th