Pharmaceutical dreams

Rossella Biscotti

Wilfried Lentz Gallery is pleased to present Rossella Biscotti(IT, 1978) in our next exhibition, A short story about memory, pentothal and dreams.

The opening will take place on Thursday 4 February from 9:00 pm till 12:00 pm. during Art Rotterdam and the show will close on February 20th. We would be very pleased if you could join us.

The gallery is open Thursday – Saturdays from 1-6 pm and by appointment. For further information and press images, please contact the gallery at or +31 (0)10 4126459.

The installation, A short story about memory, pentothal and dreams, consists of several components – an audio work that can be heard throughout the exhibition space, a slide projection, a metal bench, a vitrine with a photograph of a cross-section of a human brain, lightboxes with large format slides and photographs which are fragments taken from postcards. The audio work, presented earlier in the Prix de Rome exhibition in 2009, consists of recordings of psychoanalytic sessions that took place in the Netherlands between 1987 and 1991. It is only from one sentence noted in the protocol: “Seventh session. Mr. Dik de Boef, under the effects of pentothal…,” that the listener is enabled to categorise the recording and understand that it concerns a person undergoing treatment by the controversial psychiatrist Prof. Jan Bastiaans. From the 1980s onwards, he employed LSD as well as Pentothal, also known as the “truth drug”, in the therapy of trauma patients from the Second World War. The slides and photographs are imagery taken from postcards that the Pentothal manufacturer would send to his clients. These seemingly innocent photographs of touristic spots were used as advertisment for the Pentothal drug. Details and fragments of information in the recordings, but also in the fragmented photographs, allow the visitor to experience a collective mnemonic scenario. Here, it is not only a matter of one individual’s perspective, but of a history we all share in – the terrible events of the war and the factors that caused it from a psychoanalytical viewpoint. Here, these events take shape between a dream state and wakefulness, under the influence of drugs and psychodrama.

In Biscotti’s art, the starting point of a work is always a social or political event, possibly one in the distant past, which the artist encounters (eg. in the form of documentation or a newspaper snippet) and subsequently investigates meticulously. Biscotti’s works transpose these found documents, as fragments of an individual history, into reflections about identity, our relation to reality, and the depiction of memory. The subtle interplay between concealed or multiple identities, fiction and reality, and the overlapping layers of time, constitute the characteristic attraction of Biscotti’s videos and installations.

Recent solo and group exhibitions include: Prix de Rome (2nd prize), Witte de With, Rotterdam (NL), 168 Sections of a human brain at Galleria Civica di Trento(IT), Suspect at De Pont, Tilburg (NL), Peripheral Vision and Collective Body at Museion in Bolzano/Bozen(IT), Cabinet of Imagination at Netwerk in Aalst(BE), Gstaadfilm (1st Prize – Golden Cow), Gstaad (CH), Looking for the Border at Cultuurcentrum Strombeek/De Garage Mechelen (BE), Dal tempo al tempo at the Palazzo Sandretto Re Rebaudengo in Guarene(IT), 12th Biennal of Moving Images (1st Prize), Centre pour l’image contemporaine, Geneva (CH), Adam at Smart Project Space, Amsterdam (NL). Upcoming shows are: And the Moral of the Story is… at Witte de With and All the Memory of the World, at GAM Torino.

The exhibition will open on February 4th, from 9:00 pm till 12:00 pm. The exhibition will run from January 30 through February 20. The gallery is open Thursday – Saturdays from 1-6 pm and by appointment. For further information and visuals, please contact the gallery; or +31 (0)10 4126459.

ROSSELLA BISCOTTI, A short story about memory, Pentothal and dreams
A short story about memory, Pentothal and dreams, 2010
Installation view Wilfried Lentz Rotterdam