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Originally inspired by the Gothic Nightmares exhibition at Tate Britain, this triptych is a conversation between Tom Shakespeare and some of the great works from the Renaissance to the modern era, centring on the theme of human embodiment. The triptych is Shakespeare’s largest body of visual work to date and consists of The Nightmare (After Fuseli), Figure with Meat (After Bacon) and Dead Christ (After Mantegna).

Shakespeare’s reimagining of Fuseli’s ‘The Nightmare’ alludes to the complex moral dilemmas that modern technology throws up for women in pregnancy. Shakespeare says: 'We live in an era where pregnancies can be screened for more and more conditions, and this causes immense anxiety and moral quandaries for many women… Whether to have a test, or not, whether to terminate the pregnancy, or not.'

The Nightmare - Tom Shakespeare  

Title The Nightmare (after Fuseli)
Artist Tom Shakespeare
Year 2008
Medium Giclée print
Dimensions 126 x 90 (cm)
Image description Photographic artwork mimicking a famous painting by Fuseli which depicts a woman in deep sleep with her arms thrown below her, and with a demonic and apelike incubus crouched on her chest. In Tom's version, the creature is replaced by himself, or himself as a character: a man of short stature posed naked atop the woman's torso. His facial expression is one of suggestive contemplation. 
Loan status Available

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Work is available to loan on request. If you have any queries about the Shape Collection please contact [email protected]