Henrik Uldalen: suspended sleep.

I first saw Henrik Uldalen’s paintings in Hi-Fructose Volume 24. I immediately loved them and somehow eerily identified with them. Often suspended in space in dream-like repose, these almost photorealistic figures looked strangely familiar. Their skin translucent, milky white, the figures in his paintings look fragile and in some type of suspended reality. In the article, by Liz Ohanesian, Uldalen talked about his work, saying “It’s mainly to emphasize the feeling of being detached from the real world, like the character in the painting is in between worlds – inside a dream or in limbo.”

The sleeping or dreaming aspect of his work is what I so strongly identify with. It might sound a little odd, but I’m a champion sleeper. I wake up throughout the night easily, but I can fall asleep pretty much anywhere, and I like to sleep. Sleep and I get along. Uldalen’s paintings really remind me of the time just before I fall asleep and right before I wake up. In this space, if I am not woken abruptly, reality is somehow postponed, and though I may be aware of the activity around me, everything is slightly shifted. Completely alone, suspended in time and space, and strangely content. In Uldalen’s skewed landscape, I find the echo of that space, and it gives me that chance to think about it and visualize it while awake.

The character of Sophie, in Little, Big by John Crowley, has this same sort of sleep. An amazing book (kind of like the American answer to Magical realism), I intensely identified with Sophie and her ability to dream life away. In one instance, Crowley described it perfectly:

Sophie was asleep. It was the sort of sleep (she knew every kind, but had no name for any one) in which it seems your eyelids have grown transparent, and you look through them at the scene you saw before they closed. The same scene, but not the same.

Here too, in Uldalen’s paintings, is that magical moment – when the scene is the same, but not the same. Enjoy!

All photos were taken from Henrik Uldalen’s website.

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