Mark Wallanger, Freud Museum
Self-Reflection, Freud Museum, 28 July - 25 September 2016
Mark Wallinger has created a transformative work for Freud’s study. For 'Self-Reflection' Wallinger has installed a mirror across the entire ceiling of the study offering a new perspective, doubling the space. In the artist’s words: ‘The relative posture of the sitting analyst and the recumbent analysed are latent in Freud’s chair and the couch. We can easily imagine his patient’s self-reflection. It’s part homage and it’s part a way of trying to see something anew really and trying to place yourself within a scene that’s real and unreal at the same time.'
The enormous mirror reflects every corner of the room, from the patterned carpet to the figurines on the desk and books on the shelves. Wallinger creates a physical iteration of the psychoanalysis patient’s self-reflection, building on Freud’s musing that the doctor should, like a mirror, simply reflect the patient back on themselves. [Echoes of 'Orhpee']
Mark Wallinger has transformed Freud’s study into a mirror-world. A crystal-clear mirrored ceiling turns reality upside down. It would be a dreamlike effect anywhere. If you reclined on that couch and stared into the ceiling’s glass pool, what would you see? Like Narcissus, you would see yourself. Wallinger’s mirror appears to enlarge space, to expand the room, but it also shows you your own self all over again. The effect is perversely claustrophobic, because it represents psychoanalysis as a nightmarish process of diving into the lonely pool of yourself.
It’s almost impossible to add anything to the room, which is chockfull of collectibles, works of art, wood sculptures, books and furniture, including that famous couch. Instead of adding, Wallinger’s installation draws the eyes upward. From the mirrored ceiling, you see dust atop the bookshelves, an energy-efficient light bulb in a lamp (one of few non-original details in the room, one would assume) and an angel’s view to the couch.