The Freud Museum

Events Archive

17 March 2012
9.30am - 5pm

Through the Writings of Louise Bourgeois: New Perspectives on Art and Psychoanalysis

Day Conference at the Courtauld Institute of Art

A podcast is available for this event on our iTunes page.


This one day conference draws on the recent discovery of Louise Bourgeois’s psychoanalytic writings. Bourgeois was born in Paris in 1911 and became one of the best known artists of the 20th century, inspiring a rich commentary from academics and critics alike. What is not generally known is that she undertook psychoanalysis spanning three decades. These extraordinary writings record her reactions to psychoanalysis and suggest new ways of thinking about her creative process. The conference will bring together scholars and practitioners from the worlds of art and psychoanalysis to discuss these areas as part of a wider conversation about the fundamental relationship between art and life, and the therapeutic nature of art itself.

Confirmed speakers include:

Phyllida Barlow, internationally acclaimed artist, Royal Academician (2011), and recipient of the Aachen Art Prize (2012); solo shows in 2012 include New Museum, New York, Ludwig Fourm, Aachen and Henry Moore Institute, Leeds; in 2012, Barlow will also exhibit at The First Kiev International Biennial of Contemporary Art

Meg Harris Williams (Chair), artist and author of books on poetry, psychoanalysis and aesthetic experience, including The Vale of Soulmaking (2005), The Aesthetic Development (2010), and co-author (with Donald Meltzer) of The Apprehension of Beauty (1988)

Juliet Mitchell, Andrew W Mellon Foundation MA Visiting Professor at the Courtauld Institute of Art; director of PhD programme in Psychoanalytic Studies, UCL; Emeritus Professor of Psychoanalysis and Gender Studies, University of Cambridge, and Founder-Director of the University’s Centre for Gender Studies

David Morgan, Psychoanalyst; formerly Consultant Psychotherapist, Portman Clinic, London; co-editor of Violence, Perversion and Delinquency, 2007

Frances Morris, Curator and Head of Collections, International Art at Tate; curator of the 2007 retrospective of Louise Bourgeois, Tate Modern and Yayoi Kusama, Tate Modern 2012

Mignon Nixon, Professor of Art History at the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London, author of Fantastic Reality: Louise Bourgeois and a Story of Modern Art (MIT Press/October Books, 2005).

John Woods, Psychotherapist, Portman Clinic, author of Boys Who Have Abused; psychoanalytic psychotherapy with young victim/perpetrators of sexual abuse, 2003, and Compromise; a play about psychotherapy, 2005

Part of a series of events accompanying the Freud Museum’s exhibition 'Louise Bourgeois: The Return of the Repressed', which will include nearly 50 of the artist’s recently discovered psychoanalytic writings, as well as drawings and sculptures. A major two-volume publication edited by the exhibition curator, Philip Larratt-Smith, will be published by Violette Editions in March.

To download the Conference Programme please click here

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