Freud vs Reich (2008)

Sigmund Freud was the founder of Pyschoanalysis, and Wilhelm Reich, once Freud’s favourite student, was much respected in his early career as a Psychiatrist, however a rift between them grew as Reich became dissatisfied with Psychoanalysis’ apparent inability to actually produce a ‘cure’ in patients.



Acrylic on canvas 914mm x 610mm

In this painting, we see Freud and Reich wrestling naked in a mountain of cocaine. Freud was himself a great advocate of the anti-depressant powers of cocaine, and an enthusiastic user of the drug himself. It is therefore somewhat unsurprising that he should be a proponent of such concepts as the ego, when under the influence of pharmaceutically pure ‘marching powder’.



Later in his career Reich became diverted by his theories of Orgone Energy, a force which he believed permeated all living things, and could in fact be harvested with giant Orgone Accumulators for therapeutic purposes. These theories, and the fact that he had once been a Communist, brought him into violent opposition with the political establishment of 1950s America who prosecuted, and eventually imprisoned him. In a rather chilling turn of events the FBI ordered that his books and papers be burnt. Reich died in prison in 1957.

The quote is Reichs, and I believe echos the sentiment of many who have been raised in a nominally Christian society, but have embraced atheism later in life.

Below is a time-lapse recording of the painting process

8 Comments

  • sacha says:

    Was it difficult to find 2 men to model the wrestling pose in Brighton?

  • Penny Black says:

    Reich would have appreciated being depicted in his favourite wrestling pose รขโ‚ฌโ€ the ‘Tijuana Flip’. Freud looks dominant, but in a second he will be on his back in a mountain of coke.

    Many attribute Reich’s intellectual focus to the cleft in his penis, which I can see the artist has chosen not to show. It is Reich as he would wish to be seen.

  • I like how this project was posted at the same time we covered Freud in my religious studies class. I took to his idea of religion being a universal neurosis of humanity.

    I also share that sentiment you mentioned. As I age and my beliefs become more grounded in the concrete, my fears of divine judgment and demon possession have slipped beneath the surface, but I realize how easily they can be resurfaced from the littlest, seemingly inconsequential things. Getting over a decade+ of harsh Christian conditioning isn’t a simple feat; it’s a daily struggle.

    A ‘Tijuana Flip’ into a mountain of coke does sound rather inviting. Where does the queue start?

  • Becky says:

    Excellent noise accompanying the time-lapse recording. Got a link to the entire piece?

  • shardcore says:

    Funny you should mention that, Becky, I’ve just uploaded the entire Clubsofa album I made in the late nineties from which this track, Nonesuch, is taken.

  • Becky says:

    It seems we both have impeccable timing. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for uploading! You are full of surprises! I totally

  • Becky says:

    My comment got cut off. I was saying I totally dig your retro-futro sounds and that I think you’re really cool.

  • Becky says:

    Also hahahahaha to Penny Black. I just got that. ๐Ÿ™‚

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