Peter Radelfinger

Peter Radelfinger's Pillows and Creases, by Ruth Schweikert

A handful of thoughts on 1009 pillows
To emerge from sleep and not look in the mirror to make sure that you're still here – teeth, mouth, skin like parchment around the eyes. Instead to take a pen and a sheet of paper and observe your pillow. How it lies there on the bed, a little lost perhaps, still radiating body warmth from the short night or an extended siesta in the summer heat of southern France. To draw, to define what you see and at the same time to observe how the very act of drawing frees the artwork from its subject. To experience relief, or something akin to freedom. To do the same thing the following morning, and the morning after, and every morning for three week.

What have you left on the pillow case, invisible or barely visible to the naked eye – bacteria, viruses, a few drops of sweat, dead skin cells, a whiff of aftershave or moisturizing cream, a solitary eyelash? And yet the shape of the fabric can be seen in every detail – the dents and creases showing the weight and form of your body, and the indeterminate movements made while asleep or sleepless.

To pause. To sink into the pillow landscape with its countless miniature features – shady valleys, cliffs, clearings and peaks in the creases and folds. And the longer you sink the stronger the realization that it holds more than just traces of forensic evidence. It preserves traces of dreams and desires, and of nightmares from which you struggled to escape. I imagine that all the time lost in sleep must be somehow stored in this pillow and I feel a sudden impulse to protect it, preserve it in amber and along with all the stories it can tell. To see your pillow as a mirror image in which, like Narcissus, you can fall in love with your own reflection.