Jonathan Borofsky

I Dreamed I Could Fly at 2,518,124


Not on display

Jonathan Borofsky born 1942
Graphite and ink on paper
Support: 271 × 210 mm
Purchased 1984

Catalogue entry

Jonathan Borofsky born 1942

T03916 I Dreamed I Could Fly at 2,518,124 c.1977-8

Pencil and black ink on paper 271 x 210 (10 3/4 x 8 1/4)
Inscribed ‘Paint a dream' top centre, ‘What does this word mean?' towards t.l., ‘I dreamed I could fly' centre, ‘remove the line pt space washes' centre right, ‘2518124' b.r., ‘B' on back t.l. and JB433/D' in another hand on back b.r.
Purchased from Paula Cooper Inc., New York (Grant-in-Aid 1984)
Exh: Jonathan Borofsky Zeichnungen 1960-1983, Kunstmuseum, Basel, June-July 1983, Städtisches Kunstmuseum, Bonn, Sept.-Oct. 1983, Kunstverein, Hamburg, Jan.-Feb. 1984, Kunsthalle, Bielefeld, April-May 1984, Kunstverein, Mannheim, May-July 1984, Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sept.-Oct.1984 (not in cat.); State of the Art: Ideas and Images in the 1980's, ICA, Jan.-March 1987 (no number)

The artist said of this drawing:

I think I must have done this in my apartment in Venice [California], and I guess this was an early sketch for what turned out to be a painting of me flying, over some mountains, no houses in the final painting. And then I ended up hanging the painting, [a] small painting about three feet by two feet, in my show at Paula's [Jon Borofsky, Paula Cooper Gallery, New York, March-April 1979] flying - so it was suspended in space. It was the third show - it had the oven in the background against the wall; it had the running man running through the space, I think that's the one. So this is apparently an early sketch, and yes I went ahead and followed my directions and painted a dream, and I took it a step further and let the painting fly. And now I'm doing flying figures.

Like the ‘Running Man' (see T03915) the image of a flying figure recurs in Borofsky's work. The small painting to which he refers here, ‘I dreamed I could fly #4 at 2,515,523' 1978 is reproduced in colour in Jonathan Borofsky, exh. cat. Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1984, no.42. In the painting the figure is larger in relation to the landscape which is of mountains, with the suggestion of a straight road leading to them.

Borofsky said that while he was in Basel for his exhibition Jonathan Borofsky, Zeichnungen 1960-83, held at the Kunstmuseum in 1983,

I just decided on the spot that I'd always wanted to make one [a Flying Figure] in sculpture and I was taken over to the theatre one day, my second or third day there, and I met a couple of young artists who were working in Ayrofoam there, and I asked them how long it would take to carve, and they said maybe a week and a half. I had them get started right away on it, and went over there every day and worked half a day on it, and then went back to the Basel space and worked on paintings in the space. And we got a couple through; ... they did the trick in a very big space, because they were seen from a long distance away ... The two flying figure sculptures Borofsky describes are reproduced in the Philadelphia catalogue pls. 209 and 212 ...
I ultimately want to refine the piece, ... but one of these days maybe I'll make one [a smaller version] because I was always embarrassed to have them seen close ...
The flying dream is a positive dream and one that I only remember [having] six of seven of in my life, and each time their being very important. Because one can rise above the anxieties and tensions of being frozen here and being stuck to the planet; Other than running, which is another way of leaving the planet. Each time you run a step you manage to leave the planet for a moment ... Everybody who remembers some dreams, tends to remember a flying dream. And they tell you how they fly, as opposed to how I did it. [This is a] positive enough dream [and] one wants to reproduce and stimulate the thought in other people as well as oneself.

The 1980 Philadelphia exhibition catalogue also reproduces installation photographs of the following ‘Flying Figure' sculptures: Kunsthalle, Basel, 1981 (pl.177 - see also artist's statement p.161); Institute of Contemporary Arts, 1981 (pl.184); Zeitgeist, Berlin, 1982 (pl.204); Whitney Museum, New York, 1983 (pl.204); A ‘Flying Figure' was installed at the Tate Gallery in 1983 (New Art at the Tate Gallery, Sept.-Oct. 1983).

The following comparable ‘Flying Figure' drawings are reproduced in the catalogue for the Basel exhibition: no.60 (c.1977-78 ‘Drawing at 2,513,641'); no.61 (c.1977-78 ‘Drawing at 2,515,521: I Dreamed I Could Fly'); no.62 (1978 ‘Drawing at 2,520,228').

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1984-86: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions Including Supplement to Catalogue of Acquisitions 1982-84, Tate Gallery, London 1988, pp.108-9

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