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'Black Book' – Gideon Rubin

Curated by James Putnam

February 7– April 15, 2018

Freud Museum, 20 Maresfield Gardens, London NW3 5SX

Gideon Rubin's specially created project for Freud's final home relates to the era of the late 1930s, when Freud left Vienna for London to escape Nazi persecution. A series of paintings on canvas, linen and paper take inspiration from original pre-WW2 German magazines that Rubin had collected. The idealized images of health and efficiency depicted in the magazines were intended to promote the myth of Aryan supremacy in Nazi propaganda. Rubin subverted these images in his characteristic style by masking out the faces, Nazi references and swastika motifs. The process relates to our human tendency to block out unpleasant memories from our psyche.

Working on these images has been his way to engage with the past on a personal level. He identifies Freud's narrow escape from Vienna in 1938 with his own material grandparents' escape from Nazi persecution fleeing from Romania at the last moment in 1939. On a more contemporary level the theme relates to the current crisis of refugees fleeing from conflicts.

Rubin's systematic blacking out of Nazi propaganda images and Hitler's 'Mein Kamf, represents a symbolic neutralizing and negating of their sinister associations reflected in the exhibition's title: 'BLACK BOOK'.



Gideon Rubin-installation of 1930s German magazines

Installation view'

Black Book (Mein Kampf)'

Rubin's blacked-out Nazi images in Freud's study

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