Exhibition: « Sigmund Freud. From looking to listening »
To mark its twentieth anniversary, the mahJ is devoting an exhibition – the first of its kind in France – to Sigmund Freud ( Protected content ). With more than two hundred paintings, drawings, prints, books, objects and scientific instruments – including major works by Gustave Courbet, Gustav Klimt, René Magritte and Mark Rothko – Jean Clair, the exhibition’s curator, is proposing a fresh insight into the intellectual and scientific development of the inventor of psychoanalysis and the influence of Judaism.
In France, Freudian doctrine spread initially in literary circles that underestimated its scientific rationalism. The exhibition therefore focuses on Freud’s years in Vienna and Paris. Fascinated by Darwin’s theories and with a constantly growing interest in biology, he began his career as a neurologist, producing diagrams and sketches similar to those devised by neuroscientists to understand the development of neurons and the workings of the brain.
The exhibition traces the invention of psychoanalysis from its inception in the observation of photographed and drawn symptoms under the aegis of Jean-Martin Charcot at the Salpêtrière Hospital, and which found its specificity and effectiveness in shunning imagery to focus solely on listening, word associations and the complete absence of visual representation. In this respect, Freud can be regarded as an heir to Moses, that great image-breaker. Jewish spirituality pervades Freud’s work from The Interpretation of Dreams, infused with Talmudic hermeneutics, to his final text, Moses and Monotheism.
If Freud, born into a Jewish family well versed in the ideas of the Haskalah (the Jewish Enlightenment), affirmed his atheism and wanted to keep his scientific work separate from his Jewish ancestry, this was primarily to establish psychoanalysis as a universal science. Nonetheless, he owed a profound debt to the interpretative tradition specific to Judaism.
I’m looking forward to see you all at this exceptional exhibition. We’ll have a drink/apéro dinner in a nice place in the beautiful quartier Marais, where we have got lots of choices.
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