Art historian and theorist Joanne Morra will give a reading from her book Inside the Freud Museums: History, Memory and Site-responsive Art (IB Tauris, 2018). She will be joined by cultural theorist and artist Mieke Bal, and artists Susan Hiller and Michelle Williams Gamaker who will speak about their respective exhibitions at the Freud Museum London.
The talks and discussion will be followed by a drinks reception marking the launch of the publication.
This event has been generously supported by Research at Central Saint Martins, Central Saint Martins' Art Programme (University of the Arts London), and IB Tauris.
About the book:
Sigmund Freud spent the final year of his life at 20 Maresfield Gardens, London, surrounded by all his possessions, in exile from the Nazis. The long-term home and workspace he left behind in Berggasse 19, Vienna is a seemingly empty space, devoid of the great psychoanalyst's objects and artefacts. Now museums, both of these spaces resonate powerfully.
Since 1989, the Freud Museum London has held over 90 exhibitions by a distinctive range of artists including Mieke Bal & Michelle Williams Gamaker, Louise Bourgeois, Sophie Calle, Susan Hiller, and Sarah Lucas. The Sigmund Freud Museum Vienna houses a small but impressive contemporary art collection, with work by John Baldessari, Joseph Kosuth, Jenny Holzer, Franz West and Ilya Kabakov. In this remarkable book, Joanne Morra offers a nuanced analysis of these historical museums and their unique relationships to contemporary art.
Taking us on a journey through the ‘site-responsive' artworks, exhibitions and curatorial practices that intervene in the objects, spaces and memories of these museums, Joanne Morra offers a fresh experience of the history and practice of psychoanalysis, of museums and contemporary art.
Inside the Freud Museums: History, Memory and Site-Responsive Art is available from the Freud Museum Shop >
About the speakers:
Joanne Morra is Reader in Art History and Theory at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London. Committed to an understanding of the material, personal, historical, and political aspects of art, Joanne is concerned with the processes that take place in the spaces of artistic, cultural and psychoanalytic practices; specifically, the studio, the study, the classroom, the museum, and the consulting room. Her recent publications in this area include: ‘The Work of Research: Remembering, Repeating and Working-through’, in What is Research in the Visual Arts? Obsession, Archive, Encounter (2008); the curatorial project Saying It (Freud Museum London 2012); ‘On Use: Art Education and Psychoanalysis’, Journal of Visual Culture (April 2017), and ‘Being in Analysis: On the Intimate Art of Transference’, Journal of Visual Art Practice (November 2017). Her recent book is Inside the Freud Museums: History, Memory and Site-Responsive Art (I.B. Tauris, 2018). She is working on her next book, In the Studio and On the Couch: Art, Autobiography and Psychoanalysis.
Mieke Bal is a cultural theorist, critic, video artist and occasional curator. She works in cultural analysis, literature and art, focusing on gender, migratory culture, psychoanalysis, and the critique of capitalism. Her 38 books include a trilogy on political art: Endless Andness(on abstraction), Thinking in Film (on video installation), both 2013, Of What One Cannot Speak (on sculpture, 2010). Her work comes together in A Mieke Bal Reader(2006). In 2016 appeared In Medias Res: Inside Nalini Malani’s Shadow Plays (Hatje Cantz), and in Spanish, Tiempos trastornados on the politics of visuality (AKAL). Her video project Madame B, with Michelle Williams Gamaker, is widely exhibited, in 2017 in Museum Aboa Vetus & Ars Nova in Turku, and combined with paintings by Edvard Munch in the Munch Museum in Oslo. Her most recent film is Reasonable Doubt, on René Descartes and Queen Kristina (2016). The installation of that project has been shown in Kraków, and in 2017 in Amsterdam, Brisbane and Warsaw.
In a distinguished art career of more than 40 years, Susan Hiller has drawn upon sources as diverse as dreams, postcards, Punch & Judy shows, horror movies, UFO sightings and narratives of 'near death experiences' to make innovative and seductive works from ephemeral, sometimes seemingly unimportant items. Her work involves the audience as witness to the lacunae and contradictions in our collective cultural life. In 1994, she created an installation entitled At the Freud Museum for the vitrine in Sigmund Freud’s former bedroom. This work, subsequently re-named From the Freud Museum, was expanded, exhibited widely, and entered into the Tate collection. Susan Hiller will talk about this work and her book based on it, entitled After the Freud Museum.
Michelle Williams Gamaker is an artist filmmaker who explores the intergenerational effects of colonialism, in particular how these manifest through post-colonial conditions of exile and alienation and its subsequent effects on physical and mental health. This overlaps with her 11-year collaboration with Mieke Bal, and their experimental films which explore making as theoretical fiction. Since 2009, Williams Gamaker in collaboration with Julia Kouneski, has revisited the work of Brazilian artist Lygia Clark’s psychotherapeutic research as inspiration for interventions with the body, architecture and landscape. These works utilise performance as Physical Research.
Williams Gamaker’s latest moving image project is The Eternal Return, the third film in a trilogy exploring the idea of 'brown protagonists'. She has just completed The Fruit is There to be Eaten, a revisionist exploration of British directors Powell & Pressburger's female protagonists in Black Narcissus (1947), and its prequel House of Women is currently being screened in international film festivals. She also has two feature films in development: The Imperial and Violet Culbo(with Film London (FLAMIN) and the Cross Channel Film Lab).
Williams Gamaker is a Lecturer in BA Fine Art at Goldsmiths College, University of London, Chair of Trustees at Pavilion in Leeds and co-founder of the Women of Colour Index (WOCI) Reading Group with Samia Malik and Rehana Zaman.