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All in the mind

‘All of us have had the experience of confusion or bafflement when we repetitively forget something, do something that (consciously) we absolutely did not want to do or lose something important to us.’ Indeed. ‘Freud took these episodes seriously and showed how these apparently innocent events provide windows into our unconscious minds.’ Ah.

6 November 2010

12:00 PM

6 November 2010

12:00 PM

‘All of us have had the experience of confusion or bafflement when we repetitively forget something, do something that (consciously) we absolutely did not want to do or lose something important to us.’ Indeed. ‘Freud took these episodes seriously and showed how these apparently innocent events provide windows into our unconscious minds.’ Ah.

‘All of us have had the experience of confusion or bafflement when we repetitively forget something, do something that (consciously) we absolutely did not want to do or lose something important to us.’ Indeed. ‘Freud took these episodes seriously and showed how these apparently innocent events provide windows into our unconscious minds.’ Ah.


Those are the words the visitor sees first in the Science Museum’s new exhibition Psychoanalysis: the unconscious in everyday life (until April 2011). It’s a small show but its size belies its interest to anyone wanting to know more about the world of shrinks and couches.

The curator, Caterina Albano, illustrates the exhibition’s theme by linking objects and ideas through a series of modern and historical objects, artworks and digital media. For instance, in the Cabinet of the Everyday, there’s a camera, some keys, a model car, an iPhone…and we learn, when prompted by an analyst in an audio recording, that these objects have many strands of meaning in themselves: symbolic and unconscious ones which complement the practical. Grayson Perry’s ceramic pot, ‘In Praise of Shadows’ (above), inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale The Shadow — about a man whose shadow leaves him but then returns to haunt him — draws on the many connotations of the shadow, thereby unravelling the ‘phantoms of the mind’. There’s a bust of Freud, plus several antiquities (mask, above) that were in his consulting room.

This exhibition is not for anyone in a hurry: you will find you linger longer than expected.


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