Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Die Traumdeutung

Polish artist Miroslaw Balka invoked a pair of heavy-duty canonical sources for a recent pair of London installations at White Cube and at the Freud Museum.

Source One  Albrecht Durer's drawing of 1514 (below) called Melencolia I.  And there (among heaped-up animals, implements and emblems crowding the left half of the picture) is the object that interests Miroslaw Balka – a carved stone geometrical artifact in the shape of a truncated triangular trapezohedron.

Source Two  the original German-language title page (below) of Die Traumdeutung by Sigmund Freud, first published in 1900, translated into English in 1913 as The Interpretation of Dreams.

Miroslaw Balka fabricated multiple three-dimensional models inspired by Durer's dreamy fantasy, inspired by Freud's primal assertions. At White Cube the geometrical Object was made of polished concrete. The artist also created a low empty plinth from polished concrete.

At the Freud Museum (below) the Object was rendered in plywood. Many empty plywood crates were also fabricated. A wide variety of symbolic interpretations have been offered for these crates.

The trapezohedron in polished concrete and the trapezohedron in plywood are useful, we are told, for invoking the tragic persecutions inflicted on Sigmund Freud's sisters.

The sisters were left behind when their brother and his large household of relatives and servants fled Vienna in 1938. Of the five Freud sisters, four were rounded up and murdered in Nazi camps.