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The Man who Deserved to Die

Dreamed by Jim Shaw, c.1994.

I'm watching a black & white film about someone who deserved to get killed being murdered; then I was the killer and was walking with a friend who was a witness, so I had to kill him though I felt sorry for him, but when I turned him around, his coat said he deserved to die in scalpel cuts through the fabric. But then the storefront studio we stood in front of lit up and a voluptuous sculptor greeted us and we went inside for tea which we drank sitting on the "leaves" of her metal sculptures she uncovered for us.

Shaw feels obliged to kill a man whose clothes say he deserves to die, but a sculptor sits them on her metal tree and serves them tea instead. Dream sketch by Jim Shaw. Click to enlarge.

SOURCE: Jim Shaw's Dreams, Jan. 1995, Smart Art Press. Dreamed 1987-95, probably 1994.


This one's unusual for Shaw. He's a mostly guiltless dreamer; amoral. It's a widely held belief (I blame Freud) that dreams are all pre-moral. False! This dream proves that even if you believe in dream-amorality, your dreams may not co-operate. Shaw doesn't want to kill his harshly-labeled friend, but his dream-self, his ego, can't see any way out. But his inner sculptor does! Perched safely on her art, he can relax and drink tea. Screw those murderous labels.

I don't think it's a stretch at all to guess she's his creativity--his art. "Make art about it and we'll all calm down!" Jung might call her an anima or an emissary from the larger Self, the religious might say from the Soul... but there's no need to get fancy. She makes art, and these quarreling birds perch in her tree and cool off. Hah!

Score one for sculpture.

--Chris Wayan

LISTS AND LINKS: violence - knives - friends - ethics & guilt - language & the power of names - Wayan's nightmare of deadly clothing-labels: Swan - shops & malls - rescued! - guides & animas - sculpture - creativity - pencil dream art - more Jim Shaw

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