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Self reflection at the Freud Museum

30 Aug 2016

Art Macabre and Freud Museum invite you to spend time reflecting on the concepts of self, subject and psyche through sketching. A life drawing event inspired by Mark Wallinger‘s Self Reflection exhibition. This special exhibition by Turner Prize winning artist Mark Wallinger will mark the Freud Museum London’s 30th anniversary and the 160th anniversary of the birth of Sigmund Freud. The artist has created a transformative work for Freud’s study and a permanent sculpture to be situated in the Museum garden.

It was to be my third time modelling – after ‘Eros and Death‘ and ‘Drawing from the Unconscious‘ – at the superb Freud Museum with Art Macabre, but a first time there with my partner, Esther. It would also be the first time we’d shared a booking with the experienced and ever-popular model, Carla Tofano. We are all so well known to each other across social media that it seemed extraordinary our paths had never previously crossed. With many friends also present, this would be a highly enjoyable session.

The Ego and the Id

Upon arrival, we found Art Macabre’s supreme being, Nikki aka Raven Rouge, busy in the museum garden. Here too were Jon – whom I had modelled with at the ‘Sherlock Bones‘ event last year – and life model, Ms Nara; on this occasion they’d volunteered to help Nikki run the event. Esther and I were to start here, modelling outside. It was a warm, comfortable evening, perfect for al fresco nakedness. We commenced with two 10-minute poses as ego and id – Esther being the ‘id’ (of course!)

© Art Macabre

© Art Macabre



Having thus got the ball rolling, we then withdrew to our main indoor pose space whilst Nikki introduced Carla. I think the idea was that some artists might follow us and start drawing our next poses, but understandably they all wanted to savour this first chance to capture our fellow model, who had been body-painted by Nikki with Rorschach test ink spots upon her torso. Carla would be posing indoors with more ink spots projected onto her skin later – surely sending artists’ “underlying thoughts” into overdrive.


On the couch

Carla’s captivation of the audience meant Esther and I had a fleeting moment to relax upon a replica of Freud’s famous couch, but when artists started to enter our upstairs room we hastily sprung into dynamic poses. Such professionals! First, for 15-minutes Esther’s id was dominating my struggling ego. Then for 20-minutes the id stood while the ego restrained it from behind. We enjoyed these poses – all the more with friends Catherine, Farida, Irene and Rodger each taking time to draw us.



© Art Macabre


Nikki was flitting between the museum’s rooms, but on this occasion it appeared that very little manoeuvring of artists was needed. Both our room and Carla’s had plenty of people drawing at any one time, with artists also at liberty to browse the museum and its special exhibition. We ended with a 15-minute pose, ego and id connecting, and a 10-minute pose, in which ego finally had the high moral ground – I can’t vouch for how well we’d reflected Freud’s concepts, but we’d inspired some pretty good creativity.

© Art Macabre





© Art Macabre


Other selfs

Meanwhile, before twilight faded outside in the garden, even more modelling had been in progress. After Carla followed me and Esther indoors, Nikki invited all her artists to continue the ‘self reflection’ theme by being the model themselves. Our friend, Rodger needed no second invitation to sit naked in Sigmund Freud’s back garden, but he was the only one to go the whole way. Alison and Amy also posed, but kept their modesty intact. That’s Rodger and Alison seizing their moments below.



It had been an excellent evening. I’d overstretched my left arm for our second pose in the garden but otherwise nothing was horribly uncomfortable. Once dressed, we went downstairs to admire the artworks before Esther, Carla, Rodger and I quit in search of food – over burritos and margaritas, we chatted away what remained of the evening. It was a genuine pleasure to meet Carla at last and to share in some intelligent, worldly conversation; it was a joy to work with Art Macabre; it’s my love to pose with Esther.

From → Art

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