The two sides of one coin: Freud Museum London & Sigmund Freud Museum Wien

For many years now, the site where Sigmund Freud developed his theories of psychoanalysis has offered contemporary art a space to explore diverse sociocultural issues. The current exhibition, “Setting Memory,” shows works developed and selected especially for the Sigmund Freud Museum by London-based artists Bettina von Zwehl and Paul Coldwell. The reference to the life and work of the former residents of Berggasse 19 – Anna and Sigmund Freud – transforms the scene of early psychoanalysis into a visual platform of discourse on themes such as “memory,” “intimacy,” “loss,” as well as “awakening” and “re-orientation.”

Carol Seigel, Director of the Freud Museum in London, and Monika Pessler, Director of the Sigmund Freud Museum in Vienna, discuss the relationship between two institutions inextricably linked by their history. In the future, the two buildings are to be seen as “two sides of one coin,” and will be embedded as such within the museum context and cultural evolution of Europe. The new science of the unconscious established by Freud on Berggasse 19 in Vienna at the turn of the 20th century was continued, further developed and disseminated following his expulsion to London in 1938. Today, its effects can still be felt far beyond the European cultural environment. For the two museologists, its documentation and mediation to a broad international public is a task that extends beyond national concerns, and one that is diametrically opposed to the current culture of exclusion and dissociation.

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