This piece Terribilità is based on a beard of bees/freud’s obsession with Michaelangelo, and was made in response to the Freud Museum, as part of the RCA student exhibition Einfall: Beyond Spontaneity  2009.

Installation shot at the Freud Museum with portrait and cigar
Terribilita: black ceramic, plaster, wire, board.
Terribilita - detail: black ceramic, plaster, wire, board.

This work has now been purchased for permanent display at the Freud Museum.

The Freudian concept of freier einfall, or free association, relates to notions and ideas that arise spontaneously in the mind, apparently unrelated to a person’s conscious thoughts, but which may have a hidden, unconscious significance.

Terribilità was inspired by Freud’s deep interest in, and analysis of Michaelangelo’s statue of Moses in his only “art criticism” essay, published under a pseudonym in 1914. He focuses on the contact between Moses’ fingers and his mighty beard. Freud reads an emotional narrative in the statue and its body language. He sees Moses’ mental struggle to restrain his terrible anger, in order to show forbearance and mercy towards the Israelites.

Terribilità is a term often used to describe the sense of sublime inner strength, awe, and fear under the surface of Michaelangelo’s work. The beard of bees is a frightening image, very like a Freudian dream, which is compounded by the hand plunging into the triange of bees, giving it feminine sexual power. This queering of the strong masculine image of the beard of bees, references the homoerotic elements in Michaelangelo’s sculpture and the subtext of Freud’s observations.