Felix de Mendelssohn â psychoanalyst, group analyst, mentor and friend â had been a member of the advisory board of the Sigmund Freud Foundation since April 2006, having a substantial influence on the scientific profile of Berggasse 19 as an interdisciplinary platform in this position. A training analyst who practised internationally, he was expressly interested in the dialogue with other disciplines of science and art. Accordingly, while the topics and formats of the events conceived by and in collaboration with Felix de Mendelssohn were complex and wide-ranging, their common denominator was clear: the psychoanalytic critique of culture.
As he wrote in his book Die Gegenbewegung der Engel, Psychoanalytische Schriften zu Kunst und Gesellschaft published in 2010, having an âopen eye for and being able to tolerate differencesâ is key both to the psychoanalytic critique of culture and for oneâs own self-analysis. Individual subjectivity and the subjectivity of psychoanalytic experience were always the mainstays of talks and discussions with him and also formed the foundations of his lectures and widely published writings.
Felix de Mendelssohn presented his publications at Berggasse 19 in the form of dialogue-based discussions: in February 2011, the above-mentioned Die Gegenbewegung der Engel together with Franz Schuh; in October 2014, his book Der Mann, der sein Leben einem Traum verdankte. Ein Traumforscher erzĂ€hlt with Mara Mattuschka. There was an opportunity to experience him as an author of poetic texts in September 2015 during the performance reading TierFREUDen together with Maria Temnitschka and Karin Seidner. As recently as June 2016, Felix de Mendelssohn â the âLebenskĂŒnstlerâ â discussed with Walter Famler on the occasion of the publication of his essay Ăber den Zerfall, that he prefaced with the following lines from a Rilke poem: âAnd we: onlookers, always, everywhere, always looking into, never out of, everything. It fills us. We arrange it. It collapses. We arrange it again, and collapse ourselves.â
Of the panel discussions in which the Sigmund Freud Foundation was involved, Felix de Mendelssohn took part in âForeign in Austriaâ (October 2007), âUncanny Hoffmannâ (December 2007), âSaving the Modern Soulâ (October 2010), âFreud in Hebrewâ (May 2013) and in the workshop âPolitical Trauma and Working Throughâ (March 2013). Felix de Mendelssohn appeared as a speaker in September 2006 at the Sigmund Freud Museum on the 70th anniversary of the death of Sigmund Freud with observations on âPsychoanalysis as a Secular Religionâ; at the international conference âThe Power of Monotheismsâ, that he was involved in organising, he spoke in October 2009 about ââMany dark emotional forces âŠ but also a clear consciousness of the same internal psychic structureâŠâ Freudâs Creation and the Jewish Traditionâ. In June 2014, visiting the UniversitĂ© dâAlger 2 and the Austrian Embassy in Algeria on behalf of the Sigmund Freud Museum, he lectured on âMondialisation et DĂ©veloppement de la Psychanalyseâ and âQuestions actuelles de la psychanalyseâ. The experiences, impressions and associations of this trip to Algeria are recounted in the essay âFreud and the Djinns. Doing Analysis in Algeriaâ in the anthology Geographies of Psychoanalysis. Encounters between Cultures in Tehran published by his Italian colleague Lorena Preta in 2015.
Felix de Mendelssohn joined Lorena Preta and Daniela Finzi in conceiving the upcoming conference âThe Dislocated Subjectâ, that is set to take place at the Sigmund Freud Museum on 20 and 21 October 2016. We would like to dedicate this conference to him, someone who gave âcenterednessâ to so many people, as his colleague Gohar Homayounpour so aptly put it.
As our thoughts go out to his family and friends, it is with deep sorrow and gratitude that we remember Felix de Mendelssohn â his commitment to culture and humanity, his vast psychoanalytic skills, his humour, his unfailingly kind support, and his generosity. He passed away on 7 October 2016 in Vienna following a short, serious illness.
On behalf of the Sigmund Freud Foundation and the team of the Sigmund Freud Museum
The Board of the Sigmund Freud Foundation
Peter Noemaier Monika Pessler Daniela Finzi
On 5 November 2016, Felix de Mendelssohn is commemorated with a celebration at the Sigmund Freud Museum.