“From a young age, I battled chronic night terrors that would haunt me every night as I slept. This would often involve being haunted, hunted and tortured by mysterious figures, and no matter how I tried to escape, I would always be found and captured. Some nights I would be lucky to wake up in a terrified state before having to endure it for long.

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As a method of taking back control of my subconscious, one that often felt like an inescapable reality, over the course of years I developed the ability to lucid dream. At first this was simply a tool to wake myself up when I felt danger approaching, but soon became an ever evolving strategy to gain control of not only my actions, but my environment and those within it.

 

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Starting with queues to identify when I was in a dream and waking myself up on command, I went on to develop abilities that allowed me to remain within and adapt. I took flight to escape the figures that pursued me, turned into water or sand to let me squeeze through any gap or fall from any height and reassemble myself after hitting the ground below. I rematerialized my body in any way I could imagine and ignored the laws that confined it in reality.

 

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My attention then eventually turned to controlling the environment around me, rather than just adapting. I gradually began to strip the world down, brick by brick, building by building, city by city, world by world, and construct a new. My work is mostly inspired by this; snapshots of cities crumbling, layers of the world tearing apart and falling away, destruction on a colossal scale, on its way to taking new forms as I conjure.

 

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Recently I’ve gone further and begun jumping between dreams themselves, some of which I’ve remembered from years or decades in the past, and that weave my subconscious into a lifelong dream I continue to inhabit. Where this leads is only bound by the limits of imagination...” - Nielen de Bruyn

Exhibitions

INTERESSANT

21 - 23 October 2021
Gallery46
Whitechapel, London

The world around us is as fragile as our own minds. When pressured and tested, a complex state of existence can quickly crumble to expose a delicate and fleeting reality.

Through this lens, the built environment can be seen as a reflection of the society that inhabits it, one that can be easily influenced, torn apart or reconstructed as a result of the social, economic, political and environmental events it exposes itself to.

Inspired by lucid dreaming and the chaotically surreal experiences within them, INTERESSANT captures snapshots of our collective subconscious as it attempts to make sense of the reality reflecting back at it.