Deadman Monologue


Deadman Monologue is a sound installation created by Lily Hibberd for a solo exhibition at Canberra Contemporary Art Space in 2009. The setting is comprised of a single bed in an empty room. Two loudspeakers are laid side by side on the bed, covered by a white sheet. The bedhead is against a black wall with a large white frame is hanging above it. The frame is empty. A 30-minute monologue emits from the speakers, playing in a loop.

Photos by Lily Hibberd.

Scripted by Lily Hibberd, the monologue is an adaptation of Nikolai Gogol's short story "The Portrait" of 1842. In this reimagined work, a man describes himself entering the room and laying down on his bed. Settling in under the sheets he begins to bemoan the world. Then, with a surly attitude, the “deadman" tells the awful tale of his ruin. As he narrates his story of the cursed portrait and the moral dilemmas of being a painter, his absurdist rant exposes the deceptions of art as a capitalistic pursuit.

The recording of Deadman Monologue was performed by actor and voiceover artist Greg Ulfan. The complete script for the performance by Lily Hibberd is available here to download.

Memory Projects