Emma Talbot: Unravel These Knots


10 February 2016 - 10 April 2016

Vanishing Point - gouache and watercolour on paper, 2011
Courtesy: domobaal and Petra Rinck Galerie

Emma Talbot's work recounts her own real life experiences, revealing the workings of her mind in a non-linear format. Through the immediate, inventive qualities of the drawn and handmade, Talbot finds a means of registering those things that remain intangible – thoughts, memories, emotions, and psychological associations.


Siblings, 2012 - gouache and watercolour on paper
Courtesy domobaal and Petra Rinck Galleries

The basis of her practice is ongoing drawing, giving a constantly developing account of her life that focuses on the thought processes that lend and narrate meaning to experience. Through the work’s proliferation of words and pictures, Talbot is able to leap back and forth in time and between memory and imagination to deliver an intimate, poetic and inventive world, charting her own psychology. Specifically, her work records pictures from the mind’s eye that can’t be captured by mechanical means, revealing idiosyncratic connective leaps and associations that underpin her personal narrative.

Talbot’s work in this exhibition at the Freud Museum London is representative of the type of material that might be brought to psychoanalysis, based on family, key memories, loves, anxieties, dreams and thought patterns. Considering the open nature of psychoanalytic discourse, previously unseen drawings are installed in groups, revealing the tangled and intertwined nature of emotive subjects.

The Heart Inside, 2011 - gouache and watercolour on paper
Courtesy domobaal and Petra Rinck Galleries

The work presented in Unravel These Knots focuses on two of Freud’s studies: 'Screen Memories’ and 'The Interpretation of Dreams'. Talbot considers the potent memory of home furnishings and decoration as well as delivering an expose of her own dream images and thoughts.

The Interpretation Of Dreams, is the title of a large-scale printed silk curtain, made specifically for the Freud Museum, depicting scenes of flux from archetypal dreams, with an elaborate composition of figures flying, running away, climbing and falling in a composition of coloured waves. Quotes from Freud’s writings act as the disembodied voice of dream thoughts.

Interpret My Dreams/Case Study, transforms the exhibition cabinet into a highly patterned and painted environment, where scenes from Emma Talbot’s own dream imagery are narrated, inviting the viewer to read and ponder on the meaning of them. Soft sculptural forms placed on the cabinet’s shelves provide unplumbable motifs.

Funeral, 2010 gouache and watercolour on paper
Courtesy domobaal and Petra Rinck Galleries


Intangible Things: Dreamer, a soft sculpture head with a metallic face and long, grey hair sits on Anna Freud’s consulting couch. Dreamer is a silent and reflective analysand, facing a tangle of fragmented forms representative of left-over memories of dream imagery.

In the study, a large scale drawing on Japanese paper, Unravel These Knots imbeds personal stories into the weave and threads of an elaborate decorative carpet. Hanging vertically, the drawing references the influence of collected artefacts and furnishings, both in Freud’s Study and in family homes personal to Talbot.

Blood, 2011 gouache and watercolour on paper
Courtesy domobaal and Petra Rinck Galleries

Unravel These Knots will also introduce a text by Rebecca Geldard, printed silk panels made in collaboration with Coriander Studio, as well as a new lithograph Dream published by Coriander Studio, among other works together with a publication that will present 12 new drawings. In April 2016, a selection of Emma Talbot’s paintings and drawings will be exhibited in 'Speaking in Pictures, Thinking in Tongues' curated by Robert Cook at The Art Gallery of Western Australia, opening in April 2016. In Autumn 2016 she will present solo shows at Petra Rinck and Domo Baal Galleries.

Freud Museum London
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