We recently went to the documenta 13 in Kassel. This is a huge art exhibition that takes place every five years, pretty much taking over the town. We had a great time when we went five years ago. This time, we loved it, and I’ll write more about it soon, but I first want to share with you one of my favourite exhibits.
Nedlo Solakov’s installation ‘Knights (and other dreams)’ is housed appropriately in the Brothers Grimm Museum. It opens with a a videotaped interview with a Bulgarian actor/director, Oleg Kovachev, who is most famous for a role he played as a child in a movie called ‘Knight Without Armor’.
In the interview, he candidly talks about how frustrating he finds it to always be known as the boy from ‘Knight Without Armor’, especially as he tried to make it as an adult actor but failed, although he went on to become a prize-winning director. Solakov uses this as a jumping off point for thinking about his own unrealised dreams – he had always wanted to play the drums in a hard rock band, and he had coveted a remote controlled helicopter as a child. He also invented a dream – to own a real suit of knight’s armour. The rest of the exhibit consists of interviews with people interested in knights, including medievalist societies and the Maltese Knight’s Hospitaller, and documentation of Solakov’s decision to realise some of his own unrealised dreams, both real and imagined. This culminates in a quite spectacular performance of a knight playing the drums, and a not-so spectacular episode in which a knight attempts to stop a remote controlled helicopter from skidding around the ground. Some dreams turn out to be wonderful; some don’t.
It made me think about my own dreams, both realised and unrealised. Many of my dreams have come true: to fly in the sky like a bird, to study medieval literature, to get a phd, to live in a little house with sunlight on the floorboards, to live in Europe. Some I have revised – after experiencing Norwegian winters my old desire to visit Antarctica no longer seems quite so appealing. And some just haven’t worked out – as a teenager and young adult I wanted nothing more than to be a great Australian author, which now seems unlikely. And it made me think about my Dad, who has quite a few dreams (both realised and unrealised) that really shape his personality. The exhibition was whimsical and quite funny in places and I love that it left me with the sense that unrealised dreams can be precious things.