'Nights Move' - Oliver Clegg
curated by James Putnam
The Freud Museum, London
23 November, 2008.
The title comes from Freud’s earliest reference to chess in ‘Studies on Hysteria’ (1893) where he relates the complex, zigzagging, move of the Knight to the twists and turns of the human mind in psychoanalysis. Central to Oliver Clegg’s project is his exquisite fabrication of an extraordinary chess set. This incorporates exact replicas of Freud’s famous desk with its anthropomorphic chair and his favourite antiquities as the chess pieces. The exhibition also comprises a series of specially conceived paintings, etchings and tapestries distributed throughout the house and includes an installation in the psychoanalyst’s famous study. Nights Move explores the wider theme of play with paintings of strangely disarrayed children’s toys on old drawing boards and etchings that include images of Tarok cards and references to the poetry of Heinrich Heine (1797-1856) both favourites of Freud. Clegg’s haunting images and installations evoke shadowy childhood fantasies and daydreams that provoke a volatile dichotomy between the real and imagined.
Oliver Clegg (b.1980), is a multifaceted artist, capable of producing brilliantly conceived and meticulously executed works in a broad range of expressive disciplines. He often incorporates and reworks found objects with a history to them, like heavily inscribed and paint-splattered ex-art school drawing boards or pages from old diaries and books. His paintings with their rich surfaces and haunting subject matter have a dark brooding tension that evoke ambiguous narratives, transient dreams and shadowy childhood memories. Although he tends to excel at using traditional materials and techniques his work retains a powerful conceptual edge and the press have hailed him as a ‘rising star’ of the London contemporary art scene.
This exhibition was produced in association with RS&A and Clegg’s chess set is a new addition to their renowned series by artists including Maurizio Cattelan, Jake and Dinos Chapman, Damien Hirst, Paul McCarthy and Rachel Whiteread.
20 Maresfield Gardens
London NW3 5SX
Tel: ++44 (0)20 7435 2002
Opening times: Wednesday – Sunday 12-5pm
www.freud.org.uk /www.oliverclegg.com /www.r-s-a.co.uk