Frieze: on the psychologist’s couch

Mark Wallinger is inspired by Freud at Hauser & Wirth’s booth

A surprisingly domestic setting with a sofa, coffee table and carpets greets visitors to Hauser & Wirth’s booth at Frieze London (October 15-18), which is curated, for the first time, by one of the gallery’s high-profile artists. Taking inspiration from Sigmund Freud’s study in Hampstead – not far from the fair’s location in Regent’s Park – artist Mark Wallinger riffs on this famously introspective domestic space as a way of exploring the varying levels of conscious and unconscious thought involved in the creative process.

Echoes of Freud’s study are conjured via parquet flooring, wallpaper, bookshelves and dark, antique furniture. Significantly, Wallinger uses his own capitalIsculpture (not for sale) as a wall partition to divide the space into two symmetrical zones and remind visitors that the ego is seminal to Freud’s work. Further pieces by Wallinger – the most recent artist to join Hauser & Wirth – include Self (Century), a new sculpture in resin (price on request), and the brain-like Labyrinth –102 St James’s Park (2013, £20,000, second picture) in vitreous enamel on steel plate.


“Visiting Freud’s study at the Freud Museum drew me into his love of objects and images as totems, conjuring deep channels of thought and emotion,” says Wallinger. “The dualism underpinning the stand is a visual metaphor for this and I hope viewers will question why each work is in each section, make their own judgments and maybe interrogate how and why those judgments are made.”

No reference to Freud can avoid the psychoanalyst’s couch, and here it is in the shape of Rashid Johnson’s daybed, Untitled (Daybed 5) (2012, $90,000, first picture), in red oak with a zebra-skin covering. Augmenting Wallinger’s chosen theme are Ida Applebroog’s Untitled (Woman Lying in Bed) in ink and Rhoplex on vellum (1982, price on request), Guillermo Kuitca’s intriguing oil painting People on Fire (1993, $250,000, third picture) and Matthew Day Jackson’s emotive Hemophiliac ($100,000) in acrylic on paper with iron-oxide powder (2013, price on request).

Louise Bourgeois’ Maison, a collection of plaster pieces on a steel frame (1986, price on request, fourth picture), Anna Maria Maiolino’s Untitled, from the Entre o Dentro e o Fora (Between Inside and Outside) series of clay pieces on a metal table (2012, $110,000), and Roman Signer’s 2010 Hocker Mit Lampe (stool with light bulb; SFr25,000, about £16,300) offer further explorations of the rational and unconscious polarities of creative thought that Wallinger unites in such an imaginative way.


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