The Freud Museum

Exhibition Archive

23 November 2012 - 10 February 2013

Christie Brown


Artist and ceramicist Christie Brown responds to the Freud Museum in two key ways. Firstly, Brown is intrigued by the significance and nature of Freud’s large collection of figurative antique artefacts. Her second focus is on the idea that since human beings project a range of emotions onto objects, these objects have a life of their own. Drawing parallels between falling asleep and leaving the museum or studio, she suggests that inanimate objects may become animated in ways that are beyond our control, like dreams.

The title of the show implies a narrative slightly out of our control where unlikely connections and associations can occur. The figures make reference to Freud’s definitions of the term ‘dream-work’, such as displacement, representation, condensation and compensation. Drawn to the archaeology metaphor which Freud used to present his psychoanalytic theory to the world, Brown focuses on his large collection of figurines and the figure as a receptacle for human emotions. Choosing to study a few obscure figures that are harder to view in their cases or were not selected as favourites on Freud's desk, Christie Brown has developed a crowd of characters to create a work entitled 'Sleepover'. This will be displayed in the Exhibition Room, once Freud’s bedroom, where the group will hint at an uncanny animated narrative that has been interrupted but which may resume at any time when we leave the room.

Other smaller works will also refer to the archaeology metaphor. These include 'My Desk' – a collection of personal reference objects that inform her practice, 'I Pray Again, Again..' a large group of small porcelain children cast from modern day ex-voto figures and Eros who inevitably lies on the couch in need of some coherent inner structure. A small group of shabti faience figures based on Brown’s own teddy bear completes this intervention.

'DreamWork' is part of a major 3 year Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funded project, Ceramics in the Expanded Field, funded through the University of Westminster. The project aims to explore the relationship between ceramic art intervention and museum collections. (See website

The wider project includes several outcomes of practice-based research and dissemination, including the website which houses information and invites regular essays from key thinkers in the field. Outcomes also include 3 symposia, (one to be held at the Freud Museum in January 2013), an international 3-day conference at the end of the project in 2104, an anthology of essays published by New Ashgate and 3 major exhibitions of artworks by the 3 key researchers.' DreamWork' at the Freud Museum is one of these.

Christie Brown is Professor of Ceramics and supervisor on the graduate programme at the University of Westminster. She joined the University in 1993 and was awarded the title of Professor in 2001 for her international contribution to ceramics. Her recent solo show, 'Collective Traces; A Response to the Petrie Museum', funded by the AHRC, was shown at the Institute of Archaeology in London in 2006, in the Taiwan Biennale July 2010 and in the Egyptian Galleries at the Manchester Museum from 2007-12. She was artist in residence at Hunter College, New York in 2006 and at The International Ceramics Research Centre in Denmark in 2009. She has exhibited widely in the UK and abroad and her work is in several private and public collections including the Victoria and Albert Museum UK and the Mint Museum, USA. Her next project is a group show in the Sir John Soane's Museum in 2013

'INTERPRETING COLLECTIONS: IDEA, OBJECT, SITE' is a one-day symposium, timed to accompany the exhibition will consider the relationship between ceramic art practice and museum collections within the broader context of contemporary visual culture. Saturday 26 January 2013, 9.30am - 5pm... More >

Join Christie Brown for a tour of her exhibition on Sunday 10 February at 3pm. Free with admission - no need to book... More >

Related Resources

Read the Crafts Council Magazine review here >

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