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.