Vivienne Koorland

Freud Museum

House Sutra: From Cape Town to Kathmandu, 2006, presents a schematic image of a house, filled with white lines in a childlike scrawl. A repeated motif in Vivienne Koorland’s paintings, the house floats against a tar-black background, suggesting spatial insecurity and disorientation. That fragmented effect is emphasized by the canvas’s stitched-together surface, atop which are glued scintillating pieces of colored canvas, evenly distributed, evoking flowers or falling snowflakes. As a comforting image of a home built from ruins, it appears to salve an ache; but the reality of dislocation that informs Koorland’s practice—she grew up in South Africa and now resides in New York—is never far away.

Her painting Small Africa, 2004–2006, contains a small map of Africa, above which is written a word that supplies the exhibition’s title: “Reisemalheurs” (Travel Woes), a neologism of Sigmund Freud’s,

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