There's a new touring exhibition on at the Freud Museum until 29 May that brings together the work of 17 female artists who use storytelling techniques to toy with our perceptions of myth and reality and to question our assumptions. Their works sometimes point to personal stories, but more often to broader issues concerning ‘the human experience’. Among the artists featured is Ruth Barker, who developed new work following her research residency at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust hospital back in 2014.
Last month Ruth staged a performance piece, The Foot Exerts a Pressure On The Surface Of The Glass, in the Freud family dining room. This very contemporary take on an ancient oral tradition focused on the nature of memory. As part of her performance, she asked museum staff to select objects from the Freud collection and pin them on to the fabric of her elaborate layered dress while encouraging the audience to offer spoken responses to her dreamlike calls.
Ruth is currently showing her new video installation Glass, Blinded To The Room at the museum. This was developed during the two-year period she spent focusing on the life and work of Anna Freud following her research residency at the Tavistock. The work has been installed on Anna Freud’s writing desk and combines objects from the Freud Museum's collections with personal items from Ruth's own studio desk, printed papers and an iPhone showing a silent video clip on a loop. The artist's recollections and associations underscore the presence of Anna Freud as both subject and landmark in her own personal and creative landscape.
Why not go and see the exhibition to gain an insight into the different ways creative artists can work with archives and museum collections?