top of page






International Contemporary Art exhibition

2023 NOVEMBER, 16th

Concept by MADS

The nightmare is a form of dream that presents itself in distressing, anxiety-provoking ways that can present itself with a feeling of tightness in the chest and/or difficulty breathing. The nightmare since the eighteenth century was considered the cause of witchcraft that saw evil creatures leaning on the chest of the sleeper. The nightmare causes a strong state of agitation and often during its apex those who experience it feel blocked, devoid of any ability to react, until awakening. The nightmare, however, is also associated with a great fear, something totally irrational that scares deeply. This is how Dostoevsky defines the nightmare in "Crime and Punishment" : "In a morbid state dreams are often characterized by an unusual expressiveness, by incisiveness and by an extreme affinity with reality. Sometimes a monstrous picture is formed, but the situation and the whole process of the whole representation are both so plausible and with such precise details, unexpected but artistically congruent with the whole picture, that the same person who dreams would not conceive them when awake even if he were an artist like Pushkin or Turgenev. These dreams, morbid dreams, are always fixed for a long time and produce a strong impression on the disturbed and already agitated organism of an individual".The nightmare is identified, in psychoanalysis, as the dreamlike expression of our phobias and our greatest fears that are kept by our unconscious. It is an absolutely personal and intimate experience that brings with it ever deeper and more unique meanings, which can be represented in literature, cinema, art and poetry. The visceral expression that is exercised during sleep, devoid of any control and untied from any a priori decision and any formal rule can be represented through the arts.From "black romanticism" with Füssli and his most famous "The Nightmare" (1781), passing through Goya who through disturbing creatures tells the nightmare of an inner monstrosity, narrated by historical events, up to horror cinema and the metal music. The totalitarian and essential characteristic of the nightmare is therefore fear, fear that keeps us bound and blocked, unable to react precisely because we are helpless and lacking in lucidity.

At the end of the 19th century, Freud argued that "any experience capable of arousing a bad situation - be it fear, pain or anxiety - acts as a trauma". In the 21st century world, some of the personal and individual nightmares become cultural: the progressive absence of freedom, the lack of future prospects and security, the profound daily uncertainty. The task of art has been and continues to be that of promoting messages and ideas through the expressive capacity of images, Francisco Goya with his work "The sleep of reason generates monsters" (1797) condemns superstition and ignorance . Goya, with this work brings out his personal nightmare, the fear that his soul is dominated by demons who want to deprive him of the ability to dream and think about the future. Art, as historically demonstrated to us, is the tool and end of a constant expressive battle, it allows us to fight and inspire, tell and tell ourselves, imagine and express.

In this sense, M.A.D.S. Art Gallery wants to act as a tool for the sublimation of fears and nightmares. "INCUBO D'ARTISTA" must be a banner of revolution and rebellion against oneself and the terrifying world that stands out towards us, through their expressiveness artists are asked to express themselves and tell their deepest phobias as in a dance between dark and light, in order to feel free from the chains of fear..

Discover all the participant

More info

bottom of page