Sleep (film)

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Original title Sleep
Country of production United States
Publishing year 1964
length 311 minutes
Director Andy Warhol
production Andy Warhol

Sleep is the first Underground - experimental film by Andy Warhol . It was filmed in 16mm format in July 1963 . It was premiered on January 17, 1964 by the Film-makers' Cooperative at the Gramercy Arts Theater in Manhattan . A four-minute excerpt (along with abstracts of Kiss , Eat and Haircut ) of a composition by La Monte Young was shown at the New York Film Festival in September 1964.


The black and white - silent film shows a length of almost six hours to beat poets John Giorno while he sleeps. He is known for having a completely new aesthetic in the art of film introduced. In fact, there is nothing to be seen other than a naked sleeping man.


The film caused a sensation because of its lack of action. Allegedly Warhol kept the still camera at Giorno and showed Giorno asleep in a ratio of 1 to 1. But that's not entirely true. Warhol later stated that he had "tweaked the whole thing a bit" "to get a better line". The boredom that arises in the viewer only comes about if he doesn't look closely, because it is deliberately subverted by a rhythmic repetition (" loops ") of sequences and thus, contrary to Warhol's much alleged inactivity and superficiality, a document for his very decisive approach of the cinematic illusion and aesthetic manipulation of "reality".

Sleep is the very first film in the art-historical tradition of baroque still life painting and the minimalism of John Cage and La Monte Young , whose work Warhol was grappling with at the time. It is known that during the filming he saw a performance of Eric Satie's composition Vexations , organized by Cage , which was sure to influence him while editing the film.


"A cinematic work by Andy Warhol that can hardly be named with the term" documentation ": the artist observed a sleeping friend with the camera for four and a half hours."


  • Enno Patalas (ed.): Andy Warhol and his films: A documentary . Heyne, Munich 1971, ISBN 0-200-41991-9 .
  • Stephen Koch: Stargazer. The Life, World and Films of Andy Warhol . London 1974; Updated reissue by Marion Boyars, New York 2002, ISBN 0-7145-2920-6 .
  • Bernard Blistène (Ed.): Andy Warhol, Cinema: à l'occasion de l'Exposition Andy Warhol Rétrospective (21 juin - 10 septembre 1990) organized à Paris par le Musée National d'Art Moderne au Center Georges Pompidou . Ed. du Center Georges Pompidou, Paris 1990, ISBN 2-908393-30-1 .
  • Debra Miller: Billy Name: Stills from the Warhol films . Prestel, Munich 1994, ISBN 3-7913-1367-3 .
  • Astrid Johanna Ofner (Ed.): Andy Warhol - Filmmaker. A retrospective of the Viennale and the Austrian Film Museum October 1 to 31, 2005 . Vienna 2005, ISBN 3-85266-282-6 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Sleep. In: Lexicon of International Films . Film service , accessed January 21, 2017 .Template: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used