Kathleen Fox – The Spaces of the Unconscious

26 August 2010 to 14 November 2010

This multimedia installation by artist Kathleen Fox is part of the established series of contemporary art exhibitions at the Freud Museum.

Man & bird, Kathleen Fox

Kathleen Fox situates her practice within the critical context of surrealism, a movement explicitly grounded in creative response to Freud’s psychoanalytical discourse.

The exhibition was centred in a collection of mounted boxes that use light, sound and texture to introduce themes of eroticism and death that underpin the realm of the unconscious. The work aimed to model and explore Freud’s spatial concept of the conscious and unconscious mind – for which he used the metaphor of a house and its component rooms.

Set in a space that was once Freud’s bedroom, the exhibition was divided into two areas. From a lit conscious area housing Freud’s domestic furniture and personal belongings, the viewer passes through a membrane to a darkened area representing the unconscious. Here, through closer inspection via small apertures, the contents of the mounted boxes are revealed. Imaginative spatial dimensions are explored in each scenario where the participant is taken on a journey into a world of the dream or the unconscious.

The installation questions the way in which the thresholds between the conscious and the unconscious are negotiated and how the viewer is impelled into spaces that are simultaneously real and imaginary. It invited re-assessment of how Freud’s theory has been utilised and developed within surrealism, something which will be a central theme of the accompanying one day conference, held on Saturday 9 October 2010.


Kathleen Fox


The artist has exhibited and published her work internationally, often within the context of surrealist group activities, notably the exhibition ‘As far As My Legs Can Carry Me’ at the Terezin Memorial Museum in the Czech Republic (2008).

The exhibition was been made possible by the generous support of the Henry Moore Foundation and Norwich University College of the Arts.

Related Resources

Kathleen Fox led an afternoon talk discussing the exhibition on 2 October. Click here for details.

On 9 October 2010, an accompanying conference was held at the Anna Freud Centre.  Click here for further information.