Freud on the Couch: Psyche in the Book

Freud on the Couch: Psyche in the Book
Open Book Cowles Literary Commons
On view July 20 – September 30, 2018

Opening reception Thursday, July 26; 6-8pm
Free and open to the public

Curated by Susanne Padberg, Galerie Druck & Buch, Vienna, Austria

The science of psychoanalysis has always held a great fascination for artists – both as a medium for reflection and as an instrument for creating meaning. Indeed, Freud’s “cultural work” (per Thomas Mann) remains a popular subject for many contemporary artists. Similar to how images in dreams are visualizations of hidden thoughts, artistic creations probe the depths and meanings of our cultural self-perception, they portray the forces shaping not only the individual but also the collective unconscious. We are surrounded by the issues Freud named and analyzed, and we are also moved by them. The artwork in this exhibition is based directly or indirectly on these concepts and theories or are closely associated to specific themes.

It is striking how many psychoanalytic concepts Freud discovered and named; they can be found as source material or catalysts in contemporary book art, such as:

Wish – Dream – Ego – Id – Memory – The Unconscious – The Oedipus Complex – Fixation – multiple personalities – (Victorian repression of) sexuality – Libido – Death Drive — and so on.

In addition, the many techniques Freud developed, such as the use of free association, parapraxis, and his discovery of transference & countertransference are aspects in the analytic process as well as potent inspirations for artistic work. The works in this show are based specifically on these concepts and theories.

Artists include: Thorsten Baensch, Sarah Bryant, Crystal Cawley, Ken Campbell, Maureen Cummins, Anne Deguelle, Gerhild Ebel, Stefan Gunnesch, Karen Hanmer, Anna Helm, Susan Johanknecht, M. M. Lum, Jule Claudia Mahn, Patrizia Meinert, Simon + Christine Morris, Didier Mutel, Susanne Nickel, Yasutomo Ota, Waltraud Palme, Veronika Schäpers, Robbin Ami Silverberg, Herbert Stattler, Marian St. Laurent, Ines von Ketelhodt, Carola Willbrand, and Sam Winston.

Freud on the Couch was organized by Susanne Padberg of Vienna’s Galerie Druck & Buch, which is located next door to the famous Berggasse 19, the house where Freud founded psychoanalysis. The traveling exhibition comes to Minnesota Center for Book Arts from the Center for Book Arts in New York, where it made its U.S. debut. Following its showing at MCBA, the exhibition will continue on to the San Francisco Center for the Book.

Image: Detail of Anatomy of Insanity by Maureen Cummins