Ida Applebroog: Mercy Hospital at Freud Museum London
The Freud Museum is proud to present the drawings of American artist, Ida Applebroog, from her Mercy Hospital series.
In 2009, Ida Applebroog’s assistants found a box labelled “Mercy Hospital”, long forgotten by the artist. Inside were drawings executed during a period in 1969 when she was struggling with her mental health. She had checked herself into San Diego’s Mercy Hospital for six weeks where she had created over 100 drawings bound in large sketchbooks. A number of these drawings will be on display in the Freud Museum London.
Born in 1929, Ida Applebroog is a pioneering feminist who addresses themes such as gender politics, sexual identity, violence, power and domestic space in her multimedia artworks. She has spent the past five decades conducting a sustained inquiry into the polemics of human relations. She has an instantly recognisable style of simplified human forms with bold outlines.
The artworks on display at the Freud Museum feature bold line drawings of human, animal and abstract figures with bursts of vibrant colours. They combine black indian ink, pencil, watercolour and pastel. Many are annotated with questions and statements that load the works with additional readings, hinting at the artist’s fragile state of mind. The Museum’s unique space and history offers an intimate setting to appreciate and contemplate these small-scale works and the context in which they were created.
Ida Applebroog’s Mercy Hospital drawings have been often accompanied by famous literary texts selected by the artist. They include Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper, a short story describing a woman’s experience of a nervous breakdown; Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis, highlighting Gregor Samsa’s experience of waking up as something other than himself; and Sigmund Freud’s clinical case studies, namely Little Hans and Dora.