Projects

Eva Abeling: “Understanding Myself Through My Dreams”

All images © Eva Abeling, courtesy of the artist

Eva Abeling's project I Thought There Was Something at Free Range Shows Awards was awarded as the winner of the Metro Mentorship 2016, winning a 12-month Metro Mentorship and her own solo exhibition. She talks exclusively to BJP.

Eva Abeling was born and raised in Northern Germany, Bremen. Before moving to London, she studied and worked with various artists in Barcelona. She recently graduated in London from the University of Westminster in Photographic Arts.

When was the first time you became aware of photography? How old were you?

Photography is everywhere: in newspapers, magazines, on TV, used as advertisment on the street, in books. I hope every household has some art or a memory captured on a photograph.

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What is the primary reason you became a photographer? When did you decide to become one?

You might dream in certain colours. Your dreams might repeat themselves. Characters in your dreams might talk in one language or not talk at all.

I believe that by analysing your dreams and nightmares you find out beautiful, frightening and confusing aspects about yourself. I document my dreams through my phtographs and poetry.

What’s the genesis of this project?

My project I Thought There Was Something oberves the similar nature of dreams and nightmares in their silent wishes and fears. Wishes and dreams are incredibly strong and powerful in their desire. And hope is really the only real enemy there is.

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Can you describe how you developed the project from a conceptual perspective?

The intention of my project I Thought There Was Something is not to answer questions or provide the viewer with facts, but to tempt and provoke imagination. The choice of subject matter- the unconscious- gives power of reinterpretation rather than the need to locate meaning in the intention behind the project.

By engaging the sense of the subjective, the personal, I intended to challenge the poetic mystery and invisibility literature and visual art can provide. I printed my photographs on drawing paper, coloured paper, watercolour paper, note book paper and envelopes. I combined the different seized prints with poetry and text to convey a constructed message. It is essential to use your own imagination and thoughts in order to understand the deeper meaning of the project. Like a poem, it takes time to find your own subjective truth to this photographic project.

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What motivates you?

Things that makes me happy: colours, the ocean, my favourite fruit, sleeping with the window open, the moon.

How did you learn to become a photographer?

Working with amazing artists and their beautiful minds and imagination.
Assisting and helping out on inspiring projects and collaborations of artists.

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What are the common themes, subjects or concerns that run through all your work?

Like I Thought There Was Something my book Zeitlos and nude photographs Das Paradies Ist Eine Zumutung explore the feeling of loss and lonliness provoked by
the blurred contrast of desires and fantasies since clear beauty can rapidly transform into undefined terror. My photographs observe glimpses of the peaceful and unsettling effort and strength of challenging our aspirations and needs.

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Who’s your favourite photographer?

I do my research in all kind of various ways. I draw my inspiration for my projects from my dreams and nightmares. I am inspired by the surrealists films by french film director Leon Carax, the poems of Rainer Maria Rilke in Neue Gedichte, the works of artist Katrien De Blauwer and the written works of Oliver Sacks and Siegmund Freud

What’s your message to your younger self, in the moment they decided to be a photographer?

It’s going to be OK.

Find out more about Eva’s work here and here.