James Putnam
Biography # Press # Contact # Credits
  Inventory Suscribe to James Putnam's newsletter  
# Interviews
# Publications
# Exhibitions
# Conferences
# Talk & Debate
# Salon
# Collaborations

'Hysteria' - Mat Collishaw
curated by James Putnam
The Freud Museum, London
October 2009 - January 2010

Mat Collishaw created a new series of works for Sigmund Freud's house that included sculptures, projections and site specific installations. The exhibition's title relates to the print that hangs above Freud's iconic psychoanalytical couch depicting the French neurologist Jean Charcot showing his students a woman in a hysterical fit. Charcot (1825-1893) used hypnotism to treat hysteria and other abnormal mental conditions and he had a profound influence on the young Freud. Collishaw has created an animorphosis work inspired by this picture and a series of ghostly projections based on Charcot's original photographic case studies.

Collishaw's work often includes visual devices that have their roots in Victorian illusion techniques. In the room of Anna Freud, the founder of child psychology he installed a zoetrope sculpture with animated figures of imp like boys smashing eggs, spearing snails and throwing rocks at butterflies. Both Freud and his daughter Anna investigated the link between some children's cruelty towards animals and their agression to humans in later life. According to Freud: "Children who are distinguished for evincing special cruelty to animals and playmates may be justly suspected of intensive and premature sexual activity in the erogenous zones". Freud also noticed the cruel component of the sexual instinct develops in childhood, and cruelty tends to come easily to the infantile nature since the capacity for pity is a relatively later development. In Freud's study Collishaw installed a series of intriguing tree stump sculptures that incorporated decks playing records that emit evocative bird songs. The grooves in the records could be likened to the concentric rings of the tree that record its annual growth and history. In the context of Freud's study,Collishaw's tree stumps allude to the theories Freud developed about repression and the nature of memory.


Freud Museum
20 Maresfield Gardens
London NW3 5SX

Tel: ++44 (0)20 7435 2002 

  LINK http://www.freud.org.uk/click here




Mat Collishaw - 'Total Recall' 2009 -tree stumps, record decks, records -Installation in Freud's Study

Mat Collishaw -'Slipping into Darkness',2009 Anamorphosis

Mat Collishaw - 'Women Under the Influence',2009 -double sided mirror,video projection

Mat Collishaw -'Case Studies' 2009, slide show projection on photo sensitive paint

back to exhibitions back to top