Consultant Child Psychotherapist Dr Graham Music and critic Dr Maria Walsh, author of ‘Art and Psychoanalysis’, in conversation with the artist Rebecca Fortnum. The event is is part of our current exhibition ‘Self Contained‘ by Rebecca Fortnum.
“.. only where I find a face do I encounter an exteriority and does an outside happen to me.” G. Agamben, Means without End, Notes on Politics (2000)
Rebecca Fortnum’s exhibition at the Freud Museum, ‘Self Contained’, develops several strands of her recent work on the formation of identity, dreams and the power of the gaze.
The series ‘Dream’ depicts children with their eyes closed in paired pencil portraits. In these small, intimate works we can look at the subjects very closely but they never look back. No blinking, no flinching; we are struck by their interiority. They shut out the intrusive viewer. The imagery responds directly to notions of the power relations of the subject’s gaze, introducing on a suggestive level the ideal of the child’s dreams and imaginings that are inaccessible to the viewer. The portraits are completed in pairs in a process developed to question the authenticity of the single image. These works will be displayed in Anna Freud’s room at the Freud Museum, along with works in silverpoint, to draw out connections with Anna Freud’s writings on the child’s relationship with the adult world.
The series ‘Wide Shut’ includes three large paired portraits, each with a veil of colour over the image. These are of older girls, one image of each pair with open eyes. They act out the duality of proper and improper, of communication and communicability, of potentiality and action.