The Freud Affect: Reflecting on Viewers' Experience of the Lucian Freud Exhibition

Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk


When we visit an exhibition, we encounter a series of artworks made by an artist and presented to us by a curator. We are offered an experience. How we engage with that experience can tell us as much, if not more, about ourselves as it might about the artist. What was your experience of visiting the Lucian Freud exhibition? Which room did you visit first? Did you spend more time with certain works? Can you remember any of the thoughts you were having as you moved around the gallery space? This talk explores the ways in which psychoanalysis can help us to reflect on our affective response to the exhibition, particularly how our gut reactions to Freud’s works might tell us something about the otherwise unconscious, inarticulable aspects of our mind. Reference is made to the work of artists Lucian Freud, Mark Gerald, Alexa Wright and Marina Abramović, and film-maker Ken Wardrop.

Invited plenary lecture as part of the Lucian Freud Plenary Lecture Series, a collaboration between IMMA - The Irish Museum of Modern Art and The Irish Art Research Centre (TRIARC) at Trinity College Dublin.

1 CPD point was awarded by the Psychoanalytic Section of the Irish Council for Psychotherapy (ICP)
Period24 Jan 2018
Held atIrish Museum of Modern Art, Ireland
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • Psychoanalysis
  • Art
  • Visual Culture
  • Cultural Studies
  • Psychosocial Studies
  • Lucian Freud
  • Alexa Wright
  • Mark Gerald
  • Marina Abramović
  • Ken Wardrop
  • Transference
  • Countertransference
  • Psychocultural Studies