Artist tries to sleep, perchance to dream, for inspiration to weave a blanket

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The Independent Online
Janine Antoni, an American artist, has been sleeping on the job at the Anthony d'Offay Gallery, central London, writes Dalya Alberge.

For the next few weeks, she is spending the night in the contemporary gallery plugged into a Rapid Eye Movement machine that records her dream patterns. By day, waking up to a graph spanning 1,000ft of paper, she weaves natural wool and shredded strips of her nightdress into a blanket work of art she calls Slumber. She follows the zig-zagging on her REM recording as precisely as lines on a dress pattern.

She has built a giant loom to incorporate a bed and 316 spools of wool. 'I am sculpting from my dreams,' she explained, adding that each night she goes to sleep under the blanket she weaves. 'In effect, I sleep with my dreams again.'

At first, both jet-lag and the creepiness of an empty gallery interfered with both her sleep and her dreams. But by the third night, with a little help from some late-night stimulants - chocolate and cheese - the graph worked like a dream.

Ms Antoni came to prominence last year with her show at the New York Whitney, when she displayed chocolate, chewed and spat out into a minimalist cube. 'I sculpted with my mouth instead of a hammer and chisel,' she said. At the D'Offay Gallery last year, she produced a work that involved her painting the floor with her flowing, long hair 'as if it were a paintbrush'. Her paint was black hair dye.

Slumber is at the D'Offay Gallery's new space, at 24 Dering Street, from today until 16 April.

Photograph: Nicholas Turpin

(Photograph omitted)