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PERFORMANCE: A Pillow to Talk to Yourself, 1997
Pillow: silicon
Cm 40x60 - 15.7"x23.6"

Installation view at Ciocca Arte Contemporanea, Milano 1999


Milan, June 1999

I sleep. I choose this parallel life in order to enter into the reality of things—but in a different and total way, because in those hours I oscillate between the past, the present, and the imagination. Maybe reality itself is only imagination and what I dream is the truth.
If life is in our heads and in our thoughts, then it follows that we live most authentically in our dreams.
I am fascinated by the hermetism of the body, by its ability to insulate itself from the outside world while it experiences emotions through images, which at times end up being nearly indistinguishable from one another.
I love to sleep because it is in moments of sleep that important encounters take place. My rational mind lowers its defenses; in the midst of fluctuating emotions I enter into the totality of life, into a present that is the synthesis of my past, liberated at last in oneiric images. It’s about the hallucination that we carry around inside us all day long, which sometimes appears when, opening our eyes again for a second, we catch a glimpse of a fleeting, indistinct part of ourselves.

Turin, October 9, 1999

Today I exhibited my intimacy at Artissima. I showed myself, nude under a white sheet while sleeping on a pillow I had made that had a silicone ear attached to it. I managed to completely separate myself from everything that was happening and give the spectators a two-hour-long vision of the most private part of my life—the part where I feel most vulnerable.
I have been analyzing the world of sleep for two years now, and today I felt ready to show myself to others and to juxtapose two opposing realities: mine—intimate, silent—and the chaotic and confusing reality of a gallery-opening crowd.
The sleeping body is a mystery; we don’t know where it really is, or who really lies sleeping. The body is in this world but the head far away, enfolded in embryonic warmth: the body underneath the covers, sunk deep into the mattress, the head underneath the pillow . . . each object is infused with my smells and—who knows?—maybe even with my soul.
Today other people didn’t exist. I took a journey inside myself, accompanied by the sound of my breathing amplified in the room. I could feel myself within my skin, isolated from everything.
Coming back to reality was a terrible shock. I wasn’t ready. I didn’t understand what had happened. I thought I had been sleeping, but now I think that actually I had begun to fall into a trancelike state. I had traveled inside myself in front of crowds of spectators that came and went. Time hadn’t existed, only a continuous flow that carried me away, marked by the rhythm of my breathing. Then the light that had been shining on me was switched off, and I opened my eyes but I wasn’t ready to get up. I hadn’t come back yet, and I couldn’t be with other people—they were still too far away. So my body just gave out. I was extremely pale. Someone wanted my signature, but the pencil slipped out of my hand. I tried to find myself, but when I did I felt farther away than ever, frightened and alone. Suddenly, my sleep belonged to everyone.

From Luisa Rabbia: Self-portrait, Tema Celeste Contemporary Art, Milano, May-June 2001, pp. 70-71.