Nightmare Boxes

my workspace this morning

There is an old German spell against nightmare (or creature nightmare), which I find very fascinating. Its translation goes somewhat like this:

Nightmare, you evil creature
don’t come here tonight.
You shall wade through all waters,
You shall pick all leaves from all tress
You shall count all spades of grass there are,
Don’t come to torture me tonight.

The original rhymes. – I am not good at translating in general, and poems are even worse. The idea behind the spell is that nightmare is not just forbidden to come but given tasks to fulfill that are supposed to keep it for so long that there the night will be over before it can come here.

In my current work I want to investigate this once more. Currently I am still playing and the project still shifts around and changes every day. Currently I am planning to combine the words in its original old rhineland dialect, written on parchment, with boxes of found objects. But I am still busy putting the boxes together, and I not sure where exactly it is going. I am also playing with the idea of using the lino cut I made a while ago or making a new one, too. I’ll see.

state yesterdat – already looks different today

2 replies on “Nightmare Boxes”

  1. This looks fantastic Hilke! I love the ones where the tree/wood is “growing” right out of the box. The rhyme reminds me of one we have for rainy days.
    “Rain, rain, go away
    Come again another day!” but yours is better….it has a whole story within it.

    1. Thank you, Amanda! Those old rhymes are all fascinating, aren’t they. They have something primal and yet etherial to them, naive and grave at the same time. They give me a feeling of tapping some old, buried knowledge, which we almost but not quite understand. The nightmare might be longer than your rain spell, but still they are both certificates of a frame of mind that is hard to share for us today but just barely so, on a elementanry level we still feel the same.

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