ZKM | Museum of Contemporary Art, 09|17|2011 – 02|05|2012
Santiago Borja
* 1970 in Mexico City (MX), lives and works in Mexico City

Diván, 2010

Freud UXA-Aguila, 2010

With the works Diván and Freud UXA-Aguila, Santiago Borja ventures to approach one of the fathers of the Western theory of psychoanalysis: Sigmund Freud. In his search for universally meaningful values of human civilization, Freud liked to surround himself with ancient objects of Egyptian, Greek, Roman, and Middle Eastern cultural heritage, which, in the nineteenth century, signified the origins of Western European culture. His famous couch draped with Persian carpets is also indicative this interest. The divan, on which the patients reclined while their subconscious was analyzed, has become the symbol of psychoanalysis par excellence.
Borja inserted a new element in his work Diván. He asked some members of the Huichol, an indigenous Mexican people, to make new covers and pillows for the couch. They have the same exotic effect on today’s audience that the Persian carpets on Freud’s couch had on people in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Thus, the idea of the birth of culture in classical antiquity becomes a cultural collage Borja uses to thematize the many possible origins of contemporary culture. Like Diván, the portrait Freud UXA-Aguila, which is decorated with patterns, is to be understood as a commentary on the founding myths of Western culture which, in Borja’s photographs, confronts its own limits. (KB)


, 2010


Freud UXA-Aguila
, 2010