Mark Wallinger: Recumbent Analysand Reflected In Mirrors Freud Museum London

Mark Wallinger

A new installation by the Turner Prize winning artist Mark Wallinger, curated by Natasha Hoare, opened last night at the Freud Museum in London. It explores self reflection and consists of three key works. The most spectacular is the installation of a mirrored ceiling in the room used by the father of Psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, as his office. ‘Study Self Reflection’ 2016 utilises the room and contents including Freud’s iconic couch to create a distorted reality of the physical space. The mirror which runs across the entire ceiling of the historic study offers visitors a new perspective which effectively doubles the size of the room. In the artist’s words: ‘The relative posture of the sitting analyst and the recumbent analysand are latent in Freud’s chair and the couch. We can easily imagine his patient’s self-reflection.’

The second piece is a large matt black spool-like sculpture titled, ‘Self’ 2016. “It takes the form of the most basic expression of what it means to exist as an individual: the letter “I,” as a free-standing figure”.  The work has been placed in the garden and can be seen from Freud’s own desk. By placing this work in the context of the Museum, the sculpture has obvious references including the formation of the id, ego, and superego. It is predicated on knowledge of the self and how it is constituted.

The final piece Self Portrait (Arial Black) 2008 is exhibited in the dinning room of the Queen Ann style home. The monolith or door creates an opening in the ornately corniced space. Could this be another reference to the Id or is it an escape hatch or portal to another space? 

Mark Wallinger is one of the UK’s leading contemporary artists. Having previously been nominated for the Turner Prize in 1995, he won in 2007 for his installation ‘State Britain’. His work ‘Ecce Homo’ (1999) was the first piece to occupy the empty plinth in Trafalgar Square. Later it was exhibited at the Venice Biennale in 2001 where Wallinger was Britain’s representative. Most recently, ‘Labyrinth’ (2013) a major and permanent commission for Art on the Underground, was created to celebrate 150 years of the London Underground.

The Freud museum has continued to develop meaningful relationships with contemporary artists. Carol Seigel, Director, is adamant that the institution must remain relevant or it will become just another historic house. With groundbreaking shows by Gavin Turk and Mark Wallinger this year alone, it has successfully engaged a whole new generation of visitors.

Words/Photos PC Robinson © Artlyst 2016

Mark Wallinger Self Reflection 28 July 2016 – 25 September 2016 Freud Museum London


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