The Strife of Love in a Dream
© Camille Henrot
Courtesy the artist, kamel mennour and Centre Pompidou, Paris
The Centre Pompidou commissioned the artist to create a project as part of its 2011 "Paris-Delhi-Bombay" exhibition, from which this video was born. The piece is inspired both by Karl Jung’s idea of India as a "dreamlike world" and by Sudhir Kadar’s analysis of India as “the unconscious of the West”. The film is composed in a braided structure, interweaving a pilgrimage, the production of anti-anxiety medication and the extraction of snake venom, all of which are linked to human strategies of defence against fear. In this film, as in numerous other popular myths, fear is incarnated by an animal. The image of the snake, an ambivalent symbol in many cultures (both lethal and protective), is used in this film as a recurring symbol of the most archetypal fears and their ability to be transformed in order to take part in the process of creation. The snake appears furtively through various works of art, as an obsessional, baroque and versatile icon. It becomes a thread between the East and the West, and contradicts the theoretical separation between these two cultural spheres.