Deep Sleep

Dennis Del Favero &

Deep Sleep refers to a therapy of the same name which was utilized in the 1960s and 1970s in Chelmsford Hospital in Sydney in order to eradicate painful recollections from the memory of patients. Forty persons died during this coma treatment, while hundreds left the hospital with permanent injuries. Inspired by these actual occurrences, Del Favero's disturbing video images describe the fears of the individuals who were driven into this institution.

Accompanied by the sounds of a cello, we pass as viewers through endless corridors, peer into claustrophobic rooms and observe theatrically gesticulating figures who – in the manner of Caravaggio – emerge out of nothingness and disappear once again into darkness. The non-linear narrative mode creates an accumulation of impressions beyond the bounds of time and space. They resemble our memory itself, which cannot be extinguished inasmuch as it constantly re-emerges out of darkness. The text accompanying the installation tells of the events in the form of a news report. But the cascade of black-and-white images does not recount factual events, but instead the human psyche comes to be expressed in the pictorial language of the artist – a visible form is attained for that ineffable element which knows only its own truth. (Marion Scharmann)

About the video

Title Deep Sleep
Year 2004
Videonale VIDEONALE.10
Length 00:09:30
Format 4:3
Country Australia,
Language English
Courtesy the artist
Specifications b/w, sound, multi-channel video

About the artist

Dennis Del Favero
  • 1953 Sydney, AUS.
    Studied at Sydney College of the Arts, University of Sydney, AUS, at the University of New South Wales, AUS, and at the University of Technology, Sydney, AUS