Valerie Hammond

Substance of a Dream

Valerie Hammond

Substance of a Dream



Edition Size



Digital print, Ink, Pencil, Watercolor




Artist Book


12 × 9 × 1 in

$ 4,200.00


View Collectors

College of Saint Benedict & Saint John's University

Getty Research Institute

Library of Congress (LoC)

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Walker Art Center

21st Annual Minneapolis Print & Drawing Fair, Curator’s Choice, Jan-Lodewijk Grootaers, Curator of African Art.

Inspired by the idea of “portable sculpture,” Hammond’s Substance of a Dream is composed of floating paper heads that fall gently forward when the pages are opened and can be arranged in different sculptural configurations. Each page is a reproduction from the artist’s sketchbooks; the disembodied heads are then laser-cut with the recollection of an intensely vivid dream. The cut-out letters produce lacey and layered transparency between pages; when lit, they are transposed to the book’s pedestal. The words are more readable as shadows, echoing the dream’s origins in the dim, enigmatic recesses of the mind. Evocative of many associations, from Freudian psychology to surrealism’s appropriation of dream-like imagery, Hammond’s book, like much of her work, is an ode to the navigation of memory and emotional symbolism within the elusive paths of the unconscious. 

Laser-cut archival prints with watercolor, graphite, and ink, accordion-bound in plexiglass covers in a custom box with laser-cut plexiglass inset. Each copy contains slight variations in prints used. Binding designed by Sophia Kramer and Marshall Weber.

“[In] Substance of a Dream, Hammond translates her ephemeral memories into tangible forms, patterns, and shadows. Mask-like faces, constructed out of paper or lucite and embedded with images and words derived from the artist’s dreams, journals, and collection of old anonymous photographs are combined to convey an open meditation on the passing of time.” — Traditional Fine Arts Organization, Inc.