A Sick Man’s Dream

  • Niels van Bunningen / Fine art

Niels van Bunningen (Fine Art) has welded and worked on his figures for a year and a half. ‘A Sick Man’s Dream’ is loosely based on the poem ‘Awaiting The Barbarians’. “One important theme in my work is the decline of ideologies. Everything we regard as a set value is suddenly replaced by something new. In this work, I portray the decline of one man. The central figure is headless. He is falling over backwards, in between worlds. Right at that moment, his fantasy world explodes. All aspects of that person are made visible around him.”


Van Bunningen had a tonne of sand deposited in his workshop to create the relief forming the work’s base. He drew the composition in advance, and many of the figures were created during the process. “If you don’t do that, you’ll spend a year on implementation alone, and there’s no progress at all.”


Following his graduation, Van Bunningen was invited to exhibit at Galerie Ron Mandos in Amsterdam, as a part of Best Of Graduates 2012. Van Bunningen: “It’s a real honour to be one of 28 artists picked from 700 graduates.”  Apart from that, his work ‘Verval’ (‘Decay’) can also be viewed at Bart Kunst in Huis in Nijmegen.





Awaiting the barbarians (Constantine Cavafy)

What are we all waiting for, packed into the Forum?


~ The Barbarians are due today.
Why such inanition in the Senate ?
Why do the Senators sit and do nothing ?


~ Because the Barbarians will arrive today:
what laws can the Senators usefully pass now ?
When the Barbarians come
the Barbarians will make the laws.


Why did our Emperor rise so early,
and sit enthroned and crowned
at the capital’s main checkpoint ?


~ Because the Barbarians are expected today.
And the Emperor is waiting to welcome their Führer.
He has had a scroll inscribed to present to them
with titles and encomiums.


Why have our two Consuls and the Prætors today come out
in red, embroidered robes -
why are they bedizened with jewel-studded bracelets,
and rings magnificent with sparkling emeralds -
why are they carrying costly canes today,
exquisitely inlaid with silver and with gold ?


~ Because the Barbarians will be here today,
and such things impress Barbarians.


Why don’t our Distinguished Orators come as ever
to deliver their speeches and drive home their points ?


~ Because the Barbarians are to arrive today;
and they get bored with orations and rhetoric.


Why now this restlessness,
confusion ? (How solemn their faces have become!).
Why are the streets and squares emptying so rapidly,
everyone heading home in dreadful apprehension ?


~ Because it’s night now – and no Barbarians.
A few folk have come back from the Frontier.
They say there are Barbarians no longer.


So what will we do now without Barbarians ?
They would have been a sort of solution.