Art exhibition: Mercy Hospital, Ida Applebroog at The Freud Museum

PUBLISHED: 11:31 26 February 2020 | UPDATED: 11:32 26 February 2020

Ida Applebroog's Mercy Hospital series appear at The Freud Museum courtesy of Hauser & Wirth

Ida Applebroog's Mercy Hospital series appear at The Freud Museum courtesy of Hauser & Wirth

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Previously forgotten drawings by the American feminist pioneer made during a spell in a San Diego hospital go on show at the museum in Belsize Park

Previously forgotten drawings by American painter and feminist pioneer Ida Applebroog go on display at The Freud Museum.

The Mercy Hospital series was made during a period in 1969-1970 when the artist was struggling with her mental health.

She had checked herself into the San Diego hospital for six weeks and created more than 100 drawings before putting them in a box labelled Mercy Hospital.

They lay forgotten until her assistants rediscovered the box in 2009.

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Now, a cluster go on show at the former home of the father of psychoanalysis in Maresfield Gardens, Hampstead until June 7.

Drawn with black Indian ink pencil, watercolour and pastel, they are annotated with questions and statements which offer additional insight into the artist's fragile state of mind. They are on display at the museum alongside literary texts selected by Applebroog including Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper, a short story describing a woman's nervous breakdown, Franz Kafka's Metamorphosis, and Freud's case studies of Little Hans and Dora.

Born in 1929, Applebroog has spent five decades exploring themes of violence, power, women's sexuality, and the domestic space in multimedia artworks featuring her signature simplified human forms and bold outlines with bursts of vibrant colour.

She first came to attention in New York in the mid-1970s, with a series of self-published books, 'Stagings' of identical line drawings evocative of flipbooks or film stills, which she mailed to other artists and writers.

Visitors to an Applebroog exhibition become observers and participants in a domestic drama of fragmented narrative scenes.

The Freud Museum exhibition is accompanied by a programme of lectures and debates on feminism, gender politics, social violence and the relationship between art and psychoanalysis.

Further details at freud.org.uk.

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