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Die Traumdeutung Exhibition

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by Bryony Harrison (subscribe)
Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from
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The Interpretation of Dreams
die taumdeutung, miroslaw balka, freud museum, white cube
'DIE TRAUMDEUTUNG / 75,32m AMSL', Freud Museum London, 2014 © Miroslaw Balka Photo: Jack Hems Courtesy White Cube

In 1899 the German psychoanalyst, Sigmund Freud, published a book called Die Traumdeutung, which in English translates to 'The Interpretation of Dreams'. Freud was fascinated by the dream world, and believed they held the answers to many psychological problems people may be suffering from. One of his most famous theories, The Oedipus Complex is discussed here (although it wasn't called that until later).

In response to Freud's book, Polish artist, Miroslaw Balka, has created an eponymous exhibition at the Freud Museum. DIE TRAUMDEUTUNG 75,32m AMSL is a site specific installation that refers to Freud's book, and the height of the museum above sea level. The name was not just chosen as reference to Freud, but also because it contains a lot of anagrams that Balka considers significant. These include, 'die' and 'trauma in English, 'deu' in Latin (God), and tung' in Albanion (bye).

If you look at all of Balka's installations together, at first they do not seem to have any connection, but then remind yourself that this is his interpretation of dreams, and in dreams anything can happen.

In the main space is a sculpture inspired by Albrecht Dürer's Melencolia 1 (1514) engraving: a series of plywood crates, with a trapezohedron sitting on top. The trapezohedron has an open side so that visitors can put their heads inside.

At the entrance to the museum is a video that Balka filmed last January. Titled Nacht und Nebel after a line from Richard Wagner's opera, Das Rheingold (1876), it translates to Night in the Fog'.

Entry to the museum is £7, £6 for seniors, or £5 concessions. If you don't want to pay, however, you can simply admire Y-Chromsomal Adam, an eight-metre high inflatable black tower that is standing outside.
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Why? Fun for art lovers
When: Until 25th May
Phone: 44 (0)20 7435 2002
Where: Freud Museum
Cost: £7 adult, £5 seniors, £4 concessions
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