I will sleep when I'm dead


Jeanne Susplugas
10.09.21 - 30.10.21



Born in Montpellier, Jeanne Susplugas lives and works in Paris, France.

"Committed but not militant, Jeanne Susplugas' approach attacks all forms and strategies of confinement in order to question the individual's relationship with himself and with others." (Philippe Piguet in Semaine 13.13)

The mediums she explores are all vectors instructing the terms of a singular aesthetic determined by an obsessive being in the world, alternately troubled and reassured, worried and serene, solitary and complicit.


In 1906, Spanish neuroscientist Santiago Ramon y Cajal received the Nobel Prize for his work on the nervous system's architecture. Thanks to silver exposure that coloured nerve tissue, he distiguished neurones and studied their mode of operation. His theories came with extraordinary and countless drawings.

I Will Sleep When I'm Dead could be seen as a mise en abyme of this renowned scientist's theories. This virtual reality (VR) work offers a multitude of possibilities to travel inside our brains, among neurones, synapses and thoughts materialised by drawing. Guided by our eye movements, our glance lands on a computer, an island, a palm tree, a snow globe, a cctv camera, a house, pills, a puppet or a skull. Jeanne Susplugas deploys her artistic vocabulary to plunge us into our own brains and illustrate their mechanics as seen through a microscope.

Each exhibition allows the artist to tell a story, a journey that invites the visitor to question the world and our societies' beliefs. The relationships between individuals and themseves or others are at the heart of her projects, which emphasise on social malfunctions such as confinement or addictions and question the concepts of intimacy and personal space.

Our first home is our body, our thoughts inhabit our brain, safely sheltered inside our skulls. Jeanne Susplugas is engaged with that inner space that defines us, conceals our emotions, our cravings and other phobias.

Facing the impossibility of reading other people's thoughts, the artist collects them through conversations. These thoughts thus delivered take shape through drawing, then become animated through virtual reality, which offers the possibility of a mental journey inside that collective brain built on those different stories. This work echoes therapies that have been using this new technology for years to better treatments through hypnosis and treat certain phobias or post-traumatic stress (PTS).

Causes to our behavioural troubles are many, from chemical disorder to multiple social injunctions. To keep standing, several options exist, from substance intake to meditation, yoga or therapies. This is exactly what Jeanne Susplugas is talking about through a multifaceted work and seducing though disturbing aesthetics. How can I live, survive, find the time to make my dreams come true ? I Will Sleep When I'm Dead before Gonna Live While I'm Alive (1).

We shall finish on a reflexion by Ramon y Cajal, who considered the brain as the most complex organ in the universe and neurones as « mysterious butterflies of the soul, whose wing flaps could one day unveil the secret of mental life ».

If the neurone system limits us as well as gives us wings, it remains so far a mysterious ground to explore and will for sure continue to amaze us.

Text by Marta Ponsa, July 2021 – translated from French by L. Willemart.

(1) Fragment of the lyrics of 'I'll Sleep When I'm Dead', Bon Jovi, 1992

Espace Verrière