A new exhibition, 'Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing', explores Sigmund Freud's revolutionary ideas on love and the libidinal drive with an innovative combination of Freud's own art collection, his writings and letters, together with the response of contemporary artists.
Love remains an ever intriguing and complex emotion. To examine Freud's theories on this topic, key works in his collection will be displayed, including statues of Eros, and other erotic and related deities and objects. Freud's antiquities are usually arranged in his study at the Freud Museum. This exhibition, situated in the upstairs gallery, will give visitors the opportunity to view more closely and in detail these rare and beautiful works.
Freud's theories on Eros, the love force and libido of psychoanalysis, also provide the context for an investigation of Sigmund Freud's personal experiences. Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing' traces his passionate courtship of his future wife Martha Bernays. The couple exchanged literally hundreds of letters during their four year engagement. A selection of their letters reveals a relationship that was both ardent and intellectual. Memorabilia, including family photographs, supplement this intimate aspect of Freud's life.
Eros, the Greek god of love, the winged messenger of desire, is well represented in Freud's stunning collection of around two and a half thousand antiquities. Freud explored the meaning of Eros in his writings, and the exhibition draws out the profound connections between classical Greek culture, the works collected by Freud and the development of psychoanalysis. To Freud, Eros could spark the civilizing force of love that resulted in fulfilling relationships as well as unleashing turbulent, unbridled and destructive emotions.
The complex ideas raised by psychoanalysis are also examined through the eyes of highly regarded contemporary artists. Works include a newly commissioned sculpture by Jodie Carey, plus contributions by Edmund de Waal, Rachel Kneebone and Hannah Collins. These works not only contextualise Freud's collection but also provide and fresh and insightful ways to consider love, lust and longing.
A wide ranging and imaginative public programme of events, talks, films and performances will accompany the exhibition.
The exhibition is generously supported by a grant from Arts Council England (ACE)
Guest Curator: Dr Janine Burke, Monash University, Melbourne. Dr Janine Burke has enjoyed a long association with the Freud Museum London and the Sigmund Freud Museum Vienna. She is the author of 'The Gods of Freud: Sigmund Freud's Art Collection' (2006). With the Freud Museum London, she curated 'An Archaeology of the Mind: Sigmund Freud's Art Collection', a highly successful exhibition, for Monash University Museum of Art, Melbourne, and Nicholson Museum, University of Sydney (2007-2008).
In June 2011, as part of Freud Museum London's 25th anniversary celebrations, Dr Burke gave a lecture, 'Freud's Collection: Passion, Loss and Recovery'. In 2009, she lectured at the Sigmund Freud Museum, Vienna on 'Freud's Goddesses: Freud and the Feminine.'