The artist’s specially created project for Freud’s final home relates to the era of the late 1930s, when Freud left Vienna for London. A series of paintings on canvas, linen and paper take inspiration drawn from original pre-WW2 German magazines that Rubin has collected. The idealised images of heath and efficiency in the magazines were designed to promote the myth of Aryan supremacy in Nazi propaganda. Rubin has subverted these images in his characteristic style by masking out the faces, Nazi references and swastika motifs. The process relates to our human tendency to block out unpleasant memories from our psyche.
Working on these images has been his way to engage with the past on a personal level. He identifies Freud's narrow escape from Vienna in 1938 with his own maternal grandparents’ escape from Nazi persecution, fleeing Romania at the last moment in 1939. On a more contemporary level the theme relates to the current world crisis of refugees fleeing from conflicts.
Rubin's systematic blacking out of Nazi propaganda images represents a symbolic neutralising and negating of their sinister associations reflected in the exhibition’s title: BLACK BOOK.