reclamation, Freud, art

the work My Desk by Christie Brown

‘My Desk’, Christie Brown, photography Sussie Ahlburg

Helping Christie Brown set up her new show Dreamworks at the Freud Museum got me thinking about reclamation.

Freud's Desk with his collection of antique figures

Freud’s Desk with his collection of antique figures

Christie’s “My Desk” includes many references to her previous work – e.g. the torsos from the 1980s. I suppose all artists mine their own past practise, but I liked the clarity of the juxtapositions here. Of course Christie’s also reflecting Freud’s own desk with its own hieratic figures.
book cover
Freud himself said of psychoalanalysis “It is reclamation work, like the draining of the Zuyder Zee” in An Outline of Psychoanalysis.

I was recently asked why I used poetry on my pots instead of my own words, and I think for me it’s also about reclamation: my instinct is to reclaim and re-animate a connection and continuity with the past – especially those parts that have been forgotten or neglected, like folk songs, or nursery rhymes. A reminder that people in the past were the same feeling beings as us….
Book cover
Of course forgetting’s as interesting – and selective – as remembering: I’m reminded of Adam Phillips’ chapter “Freud and the Uses of Forgetting” in On Forgetting. It’s hard to summarise it, so here’s a quote to tempt you to read it: “Freud sometimes calls what happens in the gap we call forgetting, ‘dream-work’; and at other times, though he does not use this phrase, ‘art-work’. The making of a dream, like the making of a work of art, in his account, is essentially a process of reworking, and you can’t remember something, of course, until is it has happened to you, or at least until something has happened to you.”

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2 responses to “reclamation, Freud, art

    • Thanks Claire! after all the ‘how to write’ talks I’ve been to I thought I should make a bit more of an effort, although they don’t tell you how to write fast as well…. c

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