Exhibitions2015Wittgenstein’s Dream

Wittgenstein’s Dream

26 Nov 15

Freud Museum

“We are asleep. Our life is a dream. But we wake up sometimes, just enough to know that we are dreaming.” - Ludwig Wittgenstein

Wittgenstein’s Dream was one of a series of critically acclaimed exhibitions of Turk’s works, curated by James Putnam. Turk’s installation and intervention in Freud’s former residence was an investigation of the intriguing conceptual dialogue between two enlightened Viennese thinkers of the 20th century, Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) and Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951).

In the hallowed and highly charged domain of Freud’s study Turk presented [ξ, N(ξ)]’(η) (= [η, ξ, N(ξ)]) (2015), a life-size waxwork sculpture of Wittgenstein contemplating an egg. The ghost-like figure highlighting the continued tension between the theories of these two philosophical greats. Above Freud’s psychoanalytic couch was hung Parapraxis (2013), a dramatic large-scale photograph of billowing smoke in which Turk explores the human tendency to instinctively associate patterns and forms with something familiar, much in the same way as we do with dreams.

Above the fireplace in Freud’s library is a wooden framed version of Turk’s celebrated The Mechanical Turk (2006) video. This not only references Freud’s interest in the game of chess and its parallels with psychoanalysis, but also the artist’s ongoing fascination with illusionism and the issues of authorship, authenticity and identity. In the dining room Turk displayed The Metamorphosis of Narcissus (2011), a work highlighting the Narcissus myth which so inspired Freud.

Turk’s three neon sculptures, Id, Ego and Super Ego (all 2015), lined the staircase, emphasising and reiterating the three theoretical constructs that comprise Freud’s structural model of the human psyche. In the Exhibition Room Turk echoed Freud’s iconic desk and chair by installing his own version, Gavin Turk’s Desk (2002-2015). As an ironic contrast to Freud’s beloved antiquities, Turk had arranged his own personal collection of intriguing, talismanic objects and keepsakes that relate to his artistic practice.