Martin Creed probes man’s psyche in house where Freud lived

Artist Martin Creed with his poster, Work No. 1273, that has been unveiled as one of the official po

Artist Martin Creed with his poster, Work No. 1273, that has been unveiled as one of the official posters for the London Olympics. - Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Images

Turner Prize-winning artist will ‘talk out loud and think about whatever comes up’ during evening with guitar and slideshow

‘A spontaneous blend of talking, music playing, discussion and downloading of the various thoughts and pieces of information racing through Martin’s brain” is the basis of an intriguing evening at the Freud Museum tonight (Thursday).

Martin Creed, famed for his 2001 Turner Prize-winning piece Work No 227: The lights going on and off, takes over the former home of the father of psychoanalysis from 7pm with a guitar and a slide projector.

The audience paying £6 a ticket may get free drinks but will have no certainty of what the enigmatic, interactive evening of “spur-of-the-moment thoughts and feelings” will entail.

Even Creed is deliberately unsure, telling one journalist: “I’ll probably try just to think out loud and talk about whatever comes up.”

‘Define the big soup’

Creed, who first tried analysis in 1993 and now goes four times a week, has remarked how he explores the human condition through art just as the psychoanalyst pursues the truth via the unconscious mind.

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“I think psychoanalysis is quite similar to what I do. My work is about trying to define the big soup that the world is.”

The 44-year-old, who once displayed a blob of Blu-Tack and a screwed-up piece of paper, concedes that tonight’s possible topics will resonate with his surroundings, including the museum, its history, collection, Sigmund Freud and his ideas.

The visit is part of Museums at Night, an annual weekend when attractions open their doors to receive after-hours visitors.

As part of the event, organisers ran the Connect10 competition for museums to win visits from leading artists including Jake and Dinos Chapman, Matt Collishaw and Gavin Turk. Each nominated museums they wanted to work with, then the public voted for the winner.

Creed, who has often visited the house in Maresfield Gardens to which the Freud family moved in 1938 after fleeing the Nazis, said it was his first choice.

His submission for the competition declared: “Martin believes the best way to talk about art is to try and make a work, right there in front of people.”

‘Free association’

Acting director Dawn Kemp said it was appropriate that the event would delve into the unknown to explore the artist’s unconscious in a bid to make sense of the self and the wider world.

“If Martin had been more specific in advance, it would defeat the purpose of the Freud Museum.

“Freud would tell all patients not to prepare or think in advance of sessions to encourage free association.

“The museum has a long tradition of being a place where leading contemporary artists want to exhibit. We are inundated with requests. It would be difficult to overstate the influence of Freud’s ideas on 20th-century cultural life – on art, film, drama and theatre – his influence is immense.”

n Museums at Night runs from May 16 to 18. Further details on tonight’s event at