Andrea Fraser



Not on display

Andrea Fraser born 1965
Video, high-definition, 2 projections, colour and sound (stereo)
Each channel 40min
Purchased using funds provided by the 2008 Outset / Frieze Art Fair Fund to benefit the Tate Collection 2009


This installation consists of two video projections shown at opposite ends of a long, narrow, darkened gallery space, with seating provided in the centre of the room. Both images are projected life-size vertically (approximately 1900 x 1070 mm), with the bottom edge of each image just touching the floor. Both projections feature the artist dressed casually in a black vest top, green leggings and flat black shoes sitting on an orange Arne Jacobsen Egg Chair in a seamless black space. The images alternate through twelve short monologues in the form of one-sided dialogues. The image on one wall fades to black as the next scene begins on the opposite wall, and then fades up again as that monologue comes to a close. In each image, the performer addresses the camera directly, creating the effect of addressing both the image on the opposite wall and the viewer in the middle of the room. The scenes loop seamlessly, with no definite beginning or end.

Projection grew out of the artist’s interest in psychoanalytic theory and technique, an interest that has also been explored in her later writing. The work is based on video recordings of psychotherapy consultations in which Fraser participated as a patient. Fraser transcribed these video recordings, separated the two sides of the dialogue and edited the transcripts down into two individual scripts, each representing the speech of only one of the participants. This process also involved adapting the dialogue to the gallery space by substituting the present for the past tense and second for third person pronouns, as well as replacing specific nouns and proper names. Fraser then performed these scripts for video, addressing the camera directly. The dialogues are structured so that Fraser alternately plays the therapist figure and the more emotional patient. These recordings are projected life-size in an alternating sequence on opposite sides of the gallery, placing the viewer in the position of the addressee and object – or, perhaps more appropriately, the screen of projection in a psychoanalytic sense – of each video. The work is intended in part to make explicit some of the latent psychological projections that inevitably structure the relations between artists and art works and their viewers. The work’s title is thus a play on two senses of ‘projection’: in the technical sense as the display of a moving image, and in the psychoanalytic sense as the unconscious transfer of desires or emotions to an external object.

Since the mid-1980s, Fraser has investigated many aspects of the field of art, often focusing on social, institutional and economic structures and relationships. With Projection, she turns her attention to the psychological structures that may underlie or operate alongside these relationships. This work is arguably Fraser’s most direct attempt to date at applying a psychoanalytic framework in her work. Projection develops Fraser’s past investigations of artistic ambivalence (in works such as Official Welcome (Hamburg Version) 2001/2003, Tate T13716), as well as affective experiences in art contexts (as in Little Frank and his Carp 2001, Tate T12324) and the exploration of public/private boundaries (most notably played out in Untitled 2003, in which Friedrich Petzel gallery brokered a sexual encounter between the artist and a private collector).

Further reading
Andrea Fraser, ‘Psychoanalysis or Socioanalysis: Rereading Pierre Bourdieu’, Texte zur Kunst, December 2007, pp.139–50.
Andrea Fraser, ‘Why Does Fred Sandback’s Work Make Me Cry?’, Grey Room, no.22, Winter 2006, pp.30–47.
Andrea Fraser: Works 1984 to 2003, exhibition catalogue, Kunstverein, Hamburg 2003.

Rachel Taylor
November 2008

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