The Recurring Dream (The Manchurian Candidate)

The Recurring Dream (2007-8) is a large-scale panoramic painting (8 ft. high, 12 ft in diameter) that depicts the famous dream sequence from The Manchurian Candidate (1962). In this scene, the camera pans 360º around the room, transforming an elderly women’s meeting on hydrangeas into a brutal Communist display of mind-control, with a theater full of communist brass waiting to see a hypnotized American sergeant kill two of his own men. The ambiguity of this scene mixes perception and hallucination, which was not only at the center of the language of nineteenth century panoramic painting, but also refers to current media practices in fabricating patriotic and illusory perceptions of conflict and torture. The 9-sided structure that houses The Recurring Dream creates an industrial, masculine, perhaps threatening presence, but the first thing the viewer sees, upon entering the space, is a group of harmless older women looking in their direction, implicating the viewer into the space. With this project I wanted to make a work that engaged the viewer through an intimidating scale, as well as an intimate process, that lured viewers inside the painting, and thus into the dream.