Alice Anderson’s new sculpture ties-up the Freud Museum using thousands of metres of red dolls hair Alice Anderson’s Childhood Rituals is a new exhibition of sculptures by the French-British artist Alice Anderson.
Thousands of metres of dolls hair will be tied around the exterior of the museum in response to her Fictional Childhood Memories – a series of performances she began in 2010.
Anderson will use her dolls hair in a manner that is entirely new in her practice. Using Anna Freud’s loom as a starting-point, she will arrange the red dolls hair in straight lines and grids to replay the rituals she completed as her six-year-old self.
“I remember the terrible fears I used to have when I was a child left alone at home for many long hours waiting for the return of my mother. At that time I invented rituals for myself to calm my anxieties. These rituals consisted of
undoing the thread from seams and I wound these threads around parts of my
body and other objects. This obsession became so bad that I started to do the
same thing using my hair.”
Inside the museum, Anderson presents a series of new sculptures, including Power Figures, a series of fetish-like new sculptures made from dolls hair and
ginger thread wound around her personal objects. Two identical wax dolls, based on the artist’s image, evoke the Machiavellian Mother-Daughter relationship. The Mother Doll is seated at the loom weaving a grid for her Daughter from synthetic hair.
Anderson uses synthetic hair to evoke thread, string, webs and weaving.
The dolls hair has a special significance for the artist, connecting her to people
and memories. It is colour-matched to her own red hair, inherited from her
English Father. In this context of psychoanalysis, it functions as a symbol of
the maternal bond, and subverts Freud’s assertion that the act of weaving
was a cover for female “genital deficiency”.
In Alice Anderson’s Childhood Rituals, Anderson deliberately draws out the
fact that the building was Anna Freud’s home. She promotes a dialogue with her life and work, thereby taking the focus away from her father. Anna’s loom has never before been a major centrepiece of an exhibition at the Museum.
For the first time ever, special permission has been given for the façade of
the Freud Museum to be part of a site-specific sculpture. The flowing skeins
of hair will be woven around the exterior of the house using the same creative
process as Anderson’s Power Figures.