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Berggasse 19: Spatialising the Subjects of Exile and Absence

Lookup NU author(s): Toby Blackman


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On the eve of Sigmund Freud’s expulsion from Vienna in May 1938, August Aichhorn commissioned Edmund Engelman to form photographic documentation of the psychoanalyst’s apartment and office, Berggasse 19. The photography was intended to enable post-war reconstruction, and shot rapidly over four days—Engelman adopting the agile working methods of photojournalism, shooting with only the apartment’s interior lighting, and two cameras, a 35mm Leica rangefinder camera, and a medium format, twin lens reflex Rolleiflex. Focussing upon the analyst’s consultation, living and study spaces, Engelman created an archive comprising approximately one hundred images. In ‘Berggasse 19: Inside Freud’s Office,’ Diana Fuss and Joel Sanders turn to Engelman’s work to examine the ‘mediating function of the photographs,’ working into and across the ‘contiguous and enclosed.’ This article examines the ways in which Fuss and Sanders project, ‘traverses the porous boundary between the two-dimensional space of photography and the three-dimensional space of architecture,’ to write site (Rendell: 2010) in the dialectic ‘space of exile and absence,’ and construct a page-based architecture, through the careful interplay of photograph, text, footnote and drawing.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Blackman T

Publication type: Book Chapter

Publication status: Published

Book Title: Writing as an Architectural Medium

Year: 2023

Pages: 20-21

Print publication date: 01/12/2023

Acceptance date: 16/12/2022

Publisher: Architecture Foundation

Place Published: London