Paul Nash: Landscape from a Dream
A year ago when I went to Tate Modern, I wanted to buy a postcard of a particular painting. I went to the gift-shop to pick out the card and read about 3 card- deal so I picked out another 2 cards and went to pay. This postcard showing Landscape from a dream is one of those I always choose. I must have bought it three times by now. The funny thing is I didn’t know anything about the painter or the painting when I picked it up. I didn’t even read the name of the painting, to be completely honest I don’t like it very much either. It certainly doesn’t represent what I think that I liked in terms of art genres/artists. So, why was I drawn to choose this image? It was probably the surreal representation of a motive that at first glance appeared to be straight forward and traditional but if you look closer the eagle is looking through a seemingly clear screen through into another painting, facing himself or an idealised version of himself? An image of someone he could be or become, or perhaps he is watching himself having achieved his potential. The eagle could also be watching a mirror/ his own reflection and the sun is setting behind him. He sees his landscape through the screen this gives him a distorted perspective of reality. Is the perspective rose-tinted or is what he observing real and true?
When I look at the painting I see an eagle who wants to be somewhere else, an eagle who is dreaming of being somewhere else, dreaming of flying somewhere else. This somewhere else could be anywhere but here. It could be away from war and conflict, he painted it 1936-8. It could be away from depression and the mundane reality of everyday. I saw an interview with Danish author Helle Helle last year where she says that it is a common human condition to always want to be somewhere else, to dream to be somewhere else. Perhaps, I went through periods of wanting to be somewhere else or wanting to to be someone else anybody except myself anywhere apart from with myself: a woman with narcolepsy trying to make sense of the “real” world because my own seemed so complicated and confusing. I escaped into a landscape from a dream where I could be who ever I wanted to be.