ROBERT LONGO: FREUD

“The Freud Cycle” is based on the undercover photographic documentation of Sigmund Freud’s consultation room and adjacent apartment in Vienna, Austria, during May of 1938. Photographer Edmund Engleman cataloged the interior just days before Freud fled Vienna to avoid Nazi persecution. A catalog of the photographs was published in 1998 as Berggasse 19 (the title refers to the apartment’s address). That same year, a copy of the book was given to Longo by his friend Harry Jancovici. Images from the book became the catalyst for a new body of work. Drawings from Longo’s “Freud Cycle” were shown in 2003 at the Albertina in Vienna to much acclaim.

For Longo, these powerful, velvety black and white images became, as he states, “a psychoanalysis of Freud’s apartment. The aspect that really shocked me was the awareness that this man, Freud, was sitting in this apartment, dealing with the deep and dark abysses of our souls, while the Nazis were running around outside, actually doing those things.” Longo further states that Engleman’s photographs “enabled me to – sixty years later and a continent away – become the patient. At times, distorted by the vehicle of memory, I had the feeling that I was trying to remember the apartment and its contents. While, at other times, I felt as if I had arrived for an appointment to find the premises deserted, but undisturbed – left for me to explore in solitude.”