Freuds Lost Neighbors
At the center of the exhibition stands a house and its former inhabitants. Today the building at Berggasse 19 immediately calls to mind Sigmund Freud and the development of psychoanalysis, but beyond its function as a museum it contains both rental apartments and businesses as it did in Freud's day. The exhibition takes the tensions between the house's roles as the symbolically charged scene of historic events and an everyday living space as its point of departure. The combination of a mythical place of origin and its seemingly banal everyday use often causes visitors to the Sigmund Freud Museum to raise questions regarding who has lived in Berggasse 19's numerous other apartments and what has happened to these residents.
The exhibition provides an answer to these questions and outlines the
history of the house and its former residents by delving into the histories
of eight apartments. Attention is diverted away from the Freud aura toward
the interior of a Viennese apartment house. From this different perspective,
the house's rooms make apparent a labyrinth of strands of contemporary
history. Insight is given into the lives of the people who lived at Berggasse
19 around 1938, many of whom were murdered or driven into exile by the
Nazis. The path through the house leads to the office of the psychoanalyst
Dorothy Burlingham, who lived and worked here until 1938, and to the apartment
of Dorothea and Emil Humburger, whose emigration was aided by the writer
Numerous files are shown that have only recently been opened to the public by Austrian archives. Through them, the group of tenants that lived in Freud's building at Berggasse 19 can be pieced together. The house lists for the ninth district preserved in the records of the Viennese Israelitische Kultusgemeinde have been specially restored for the exhibition. A contrast to the exhibition's "archival" aesthetic is provided by sound collages featuring clips from interviews. These passages from conversations with tenants' descendents, psychoanalysts, museum visitors, and the house's residents transform the house at Berggasse 19 into a space that resonates with competing remembrances, experiences and imaginations.
A publication with numerous illustrations is being published by
Turia + Kant on the occasion of the exhibition: