Dreams that Money can Buy

A dreamed group show

Dreams that money can buy is a series of 26 dreams that Thomas Geiger has written down over the last 8 years after waking up. The connection between these dreams is that they all tell of encounters with other artists and their dreamed (fictional) works. For Geiger, this is a “dreamed group show” that not only offers an unusual view of artworks and art production, but also raises questions about authorship: Who is the author of a dreamed fictional work by Jonathan Monk, for example? The dreaming Thomas Geiger or the original artist whose working method has solidified itself in Geiger’s unconscious – or perhaps the dreaming I is an entity of its own after all. Read more about the work with a text by Julia Moebus-Puck.

Exhibition view, Sperling Munich, 2022


I’m sitting at a table with the football players Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema and tell them about my work I want to be- come a millionaire and how I’ve been selling stamped, numbered, and signed A6-sized pieces of paper for 1 euro each for many years. Cristiano Ronaldo immediately wants to buy an edition from me and puts two 50-cent pieces on the table. I’m very pleased to have such a prominent buyer and go on to tell them what I want to do: I want to make a special edition and have my I want to become a millionaire papers signed by famous football players. Karim Benzema laughs out loud and says that I’ve come to the right man, because he can forge all the signatures of his famous colleagues. I immediately hand him a large stack of pa- pers, whereupon he signs one after the other: Lionel Messi, Xavi, Philipp Lahm, Wayne Rooney, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Samuel Eto’o, Neymar, Zlatan Ibrahimović, Sergio Ramos...

Exhibition view, Sperling Munich, 2022


I am standing in front of a dilapidated or destroyed bridge pier. Rubble and construction debris are piled up everywhere. It turns out I’m in Beirut, and what you see is the damage from the silo explosion. Next to the bridge pier is a small gallery where the artist Charbel-joseph H. Boutros exhibits. The gallery’s door and window are barricaded with wood, and you can’t go in or see inside. Instead, the artist has installed his works directly on the bridge pier. There, spread out, hang numerous white posters, each with a large black word written in French: “Soluable”, “Crystalline” “Transparent”, “Solid”. I ask the artist what these words mean, and he explains that they are the properties of salt. Then he tells me that the explosion in Beirut was caused by salt. Traces of this salt are now everywhere in the city and even in the people. He says that the properties of salt will slowly transfer to the properties of the people from now on. I nod in understanding.


I am in a small bookstore in Paris. The shelves are filled to the ceiling with books. There are also piles of books on the bright wooden floor. Despite this abundance, the room has a tidy, orderly atmosphere. I browse through the shelves and notice that the store seems to have a lot of atlases. Everywhere I look, I see atlases: large, small, colourful, black, and white, brand new, and antique. Suddenly, I hear a voice behind me. I turn around and the bookdealer asks me if he could help me. To my astonishment, I discover that it is the artist Jonathan Monk. I ask him what this collection of atlases is about, and he tells me that this is a newwork of his. I turn back to the books and in the background, I hear Jonathan Monk talking at length about his work. I hear that he has removed something from all the atlases. However, he does not want to reveal what it is, and so I start to search intensively, but without finding anything.

Exhibition view, Sperling Munich, 2022

Dreams that Money can Buy
Julia Moebus-Puck

Salvador Dalí once said: “One day we will have to admit that what we call reality is an even greater illusion than the world of dreams.” Although the artist was excluded from the Surrealist group very early in 1934 by André Breton, he is still considered its best-known international repre- sentative.

In his works Dreams That Money Can Buy, the artist Thomas Geiger refers to the film of the same name by Hans Richter from 1947, in which well-known artists of the Surrealist group play- fully deal with the connection between reality and dreams. Thomas Geiger publishes his own dreams, which he has written down over the past years just after waking up. These dreams make clear how much art is anchored in his subcon- scious and at the same time pose the question of what art is in the first place. We, who learn about these dreams after the fact, have to realize that the various elements that appear there, such as the well-known artists, are only fictional. Geiger presents us with excerpts from his dreams in which fictional events take place that are ontolo- gically isolated from us to such an extent that we can only conceive them as if they would resemble our reality. They can never be completely grasped by us in their being. My Daniel Spoerri is diffe- rent from the one Geiger imagines. My Zurich is different, my Macedonia, my Christiano Ronal- do, etc.

Dreams That Money Can Buy shows us that dreaming is above all remembering. And perhaps we should rather distrust our capability of me- mory. Only because we can remember, we assume the existence of a memory. Or better said: becau- se we cannot always remember – therefore often also forget (and above all always know about this forgetting) – we put a mind with memory as the condition. This mind contains all that has hap- pened to us, what we have become and the self- images we uphold. The self-images are created by the contradiction that something ephemeral manifests itself permanently. Something that obviously has no material character, and once was only a flash of mind or brief thought, transforms itself during the translation into memory into a substance that suddenly takes form. This form gets a body, and a temporality is attributed to it. The body is, so to speak, the condition of the form. And we cannot imagine the survival of a form without a body. This lack of imagination compels us, in the case of sen- sory perception, to translate loose form into physical matter. After all, our senses are bound to a physical existence.

As a so-called dream expert, Dalí should be right in his statement “that what we call rea- lity is an even greater illusion than the world of dreams”, but our world has also moved into a post-factual age. Particularly in the field of politics, it is no longer important to convince with facts, but rather with emotional effects. This involves deliberately scattering uncertain- ties and propagating various forms of reality. But this model of realism is fragile and is used mostly manipulatively in order to assert self- serving or monetary interests. Therefore, it is very worthwhile to think more intensively ab- out how our world would change if the subcon- scious suddenly had the same status as what we call consciousness. How would we talk to each other and discuss problems? What would happen to art? What meaning would it have? Would we be able to redefine acceptance for others? Would we – as a society – move closer together or further apart?

Thomas Geiger invites us to think about all these questions. By presenting his dreams, he offers us the opportunity to build our own world around them and thus create new dreams and realities. Maybe we can change or develop “reality” a bit with it, or at least our thinking about it.