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Anna Freud’s life inspires photograph fragments artwork

PUBLISHED: 08:00 02 July 2016




Invitation to Frequent the Shadows, a series of installations by German-born photographer Bettina von Zwehl, is an intriguing exhibition-cum-intervention at the Freud Museum in Hampstead.

Von Zwehl is known for her interest in profile portraiture, inspired by Renaissance paintings.

The grand stairwell makes a dramatic setting for The Sessions, 50 fragments of the same photograph of a young girl’s head in profile.

These were made in response to her study of the life and legacy of psychoanalyst Anna Freud, Sigmund’s last child, and to her own experience of psychoanalysis, with its 50 minute sessions.

Von Zwehl made each piece by tearing a sheet of photographic paper then exposing the negative onto it.

The fragments echo the seemingly unimportant material stored in an analysand’s mind that has the potential to illuminate their deepest issues.

In the former dining room are 15 lightboxes with silhouette portraits of women made following von Zwehl’s residency in 2013/14.

These were inspired by Anna’s passionate letters to women friends and are an expression of the female bonds in the artist’s life after the sudden death of a close friend.

What stayed with me was an initially perplexing installation of 45 grey archival boxes from Anna’s archive – subtle and unnerving.

Until July 17 at 20 Maresfield Gardens NW3, Wednesday to Sunday 12 to 5pm.

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