Children at the Jackson Nursery Vienna

Wunderblock at the Freud Museum London

Neighbourhood
Location
Freud Museum London
20 Maresfield Gardens
NW3 5SX
London
Event time
12pm-5pm
Date
6 Mar 2019 - 26 May 2019
6 Mar 2019
7 Mar 2019
8 Mar 2019
9 Mar 2019
10 Mar 2019
11 Mar 2019
12 Mar 2019
13 Mar 2019
14 Mar 2019
15 Mar 2019
16 Mar 2019
17 Mar 2019
18 Mar 2019
19 Mar 2019
20 Mar 2019
21 Mar 2019
22 Mar 2019
23 Mar 2019
24 Mar 2019
25 Mar 2019
26 Mar 2019
27 Mar 2019
28 Mar 2019
29 Mar 2019
30 Mar 2019
31 Mar 2019
1 Apr 2019
2 Apr 2019
3 Apr 2019
4 Apr 2019
5 Apr 2019
6 Apr 2019
7 Apr 2019
8 Apr 2019
9 Apr 2019
10 Apr 2019
11 Apr 2019
12 Apr 2019
13 Apr 2019
14 Apr 2019
15 Apr 2019
16 Apr 2019
17 Apr 2019
18 Apr 2019
19 Apr 2019
20 Apr 2019
21 Apr 2019
22 Apr 2019
23 Apr 2019
24 Apr 2019
25 Apr 2019
26 Apr 2019
27 Apr 2019
28 Apr 2019
29 Apr 2019
30 Apr 2019
1 May 2019
2 May 2019
3 May 2019
4 May 2019
5 May 2019
6 May 2019
7 May 2019
8 May 2019
9 May 2019
10 May 2019
11 May 2019
12 May 2019
13 May 2019
14 May 2019
15 May 2019
16 May 2019
17 May 2019
18 May 2019
19 May 2019
20 May 2019
21 May 2019
22 May 2019
23 May 2019
24 May 2019
25 May 2019
26 May 2019
26 May 2019
Telephone
Email
eventsandmedia@freud.org.uk

Wunderblock is an exhibition of new work by artist Emma Smith, drawing on original historical research into the post-war fascination with the infant mind. This research, undertaken by the Hidden Persuaders Project at Birkbeck, University of London, examines ‘brainwashing’ during the Cold War. Smith’s exhibition particularly focuses on this history in relation to the child.

In the wake of World War II there was considerable anxiety about how children’s minds could be shaped or influenced to support fascism, communism or liberal democracy. A generation of children had also directly experienced the devastation of war, separation from their families, or life in institutions. Child psychoanalysis and psychiatry gained a prominent role and it was a time of great innovation and debate. However, observing and interpreting the developing mind, nurturing infant mental health, and supporting good parenting, also became powerful political issues. These were inextricably linked to the interests of the state, and aspirations for generating democratic citizens.

Smith’s exhibition turns some of this complex history of debate about nature and nurture, and about benign and malign influences over the child, on its head. Smith asks ‘What is the agency of the child?’, ‘What is innate to the infant and in what ways are they an ‘expert’?’; and, crucially: ‘To what extent does the baby or child influence their environment, and shape the adult’s world?’. Inspired by the rich material surrounding infant observation in psychoanalysis by practitioners such as Melanie Klein, Anna Freud, Margaret Lowenfeld and Donald Winnicott, as well as the emergence of child-centred pedagogy and the anti-psychiatry movement, Wunderblock considers how we might engage with this history and meet the child from their own perspective.

Wunderblock will unfold across the Freud Museum through a number of interventions: using sound, interactive installation, and the Museum’s own collection, responding to the significance of this unique domestic setting. The title Wunderblock is taken from the title of Freud’s essay ‘The Magic Writing Pad’, where it refers to the layers of the self that are constantly re-written but may re-emerge from beneath the surface. In the exhibition, these layers are peeled back to reveal the child as a complex person rather than merely a malleable future citizen, a sponge for the influence of others.

Wunderblock is curated by Rachel Fleming-Mulford, and is commissioned by Birkbeck, University of London for the Hidden Persuaders Project, funded by the Wellcome Trust Public Engagement Fund.

Entry to this exhibition is included in The Freud Museum London admission ticket.

Category