The mountains that Caspar David Friedrich painted, the subverted sublime, majesty and decline, blurred historical memories and recurring dreams. Happenstance.
A series of coincidences led Pilar Mata Dupont to make Mountain. After a cutting break-up, Pilar found herself on a job filming winter athletes in the German alps near the Austrian border. In her downtime, she would take a boat across the lake to St Bartholomew Church through the mountains and back, filming as her camera coasted across the water.
Not long after, she undertook a residency at the Freud Museum in London, and while rifling through the maverick’s family photo albums, she discovered photographs of the same mountains she had just spent so many hours sailing past. Freud himself had taken the pictures, and had even written his seminal The Interpretation of Dreams while there. The project of Mountain was in motion, set by forces beyond the artist.
The following spring, Pilar returned to the Bavarian peaks to shoot more material. Berchtesgaden had accommodated many high-ranking Nazis, including Hitler, who took electric boat trips across the lake with his officials while at the Eagle’s Nest mountaintop retreat. Pilar found logs of Freud’s summer travels confirming that Freud and Hitler had occupied the same vacation terrain at least twice in the 1920s. These titans of 20th century thought, control, dreams and destruction: did they pass one another? Make eye contact? Did their boats bump at the jetty?
Freud eventually fled his Austrian home after the German invasion, to seek freedom in England. One of the many ironies of his body of work is that the possibility of individual psychic peace was cut short by the mass trauma of oncoming world war and fascism – phenomena which Freud’s theories cannot fully explain.
Such are the moments of windfall, association and intuition that led Pilar to imagine a conversation between Freud and a character based on the tyrant figure in Freud’s book ‘Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego.’ Meanwhile the alps glide by indifferently. These peaks, are they romantic or are they gothic? Pilar finished Mountain in 2015, and this marks the frozen work’s online premiere. I like to think of these towering geological forms, and the legacies of these two men, shrunk down to size on your device. Now, on the other side of this wall of mountains lies possibility: new horizons and histories to be made.
About Pilar Mata Dupont
Pilar Mata Dupont is an Argentinean-Australian artist living between Perth and Rotterdam. She is represented by MOORE CONTEMPORARY. Mountain was originally commissioned as part of a group residency at the Freud Museum London, conceived and curated by Andrew Nicholls in 2013.
Mountain is part of