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Significantly Freud: Icons for a Jewish Atheist is the largest painting I have made. It is created from twelve gilded images of my favourite artefacts from the personal collection of the psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud. They were inspired by my visit to Sigmund Freud’s Collection: An Archaeology of the Mind at The Nicholson Museum, University of Sydney, March 2008, curated by Dr Janine Burke. This exhibition recreated Freud’s consulting room at 19 Begasse Vienna in the 1920s.
The twelve smaller paintings join together to create one large painting, representing the desk and shelves in Freud’s consulting rooms. And just as Freud rearranged the desk or shelf position his artefacts regularly, all twelve paintings can be rearranged on the backing board in any order to suit my daily whims.
Each of the twelve objects has been carefully selected to represent a key aspect of Frued’s pyschoanalytic thinking. “Look at the same things again and again until the things themselves begin to speak” (advice to Freud from his instructor, Jean-Martin Charcot, as quoted in The Gods of Freud, Janine Burke, 2006, p. 15
The twelve background colours are taken from the antique Persian rugs that covered the floor, walls and couch where Freud’s patients lay. The twelve connecting frames represent Freud’s worlds of myths and dreams. The twelve contemplative texts, written in Old German script, symbolise Freud’s exploration of the human unconscious.
“Freud chose to die in his study, surrounded … by his ancestors of choice, his most faithful colleagues, and the embodiments of his excavated truths of psychoanalysis.” (from Freud: Darkness in the Midst of Vision, Louis Breger, 2000, p. 327)
Each of my smaller paintings is 400 mm high x 300 mm wide. The combined twelve paintings on a backing board measure 1920 mm wide x 840 mm high.
Just click on one of the pictures below to find out more about it.