Opening 2nd of September 2010

Zoe Beloff is an artist who elides the roles of archivist and creator. Last year, in celebration of the centennial of Sigmund Freud’s visit to Coney Island in 1909, she resurrected the world of the Coney Island Amateur Psychoanalytic Society, along with the visionary ideas of its founder, Albert Grass. Her exhibition Dreamland: The Coney Island Amateur Psychoanalytic Society and its Circle 1926-1972 ran for a year at The Coney Island Museum.  Viktor Wynd Fine Art is proud to present the latest installment of her archive, Adventures of a Dreamer by Albert Grass.

In the Dreamland exhibition, Beloff suggested that Grass could have discovered Freud’s writing while in the Signal Corp in France during World War I. When he returned to Coney Island and a job designing amusements at Steeplechase Park, Coney Island’s Palace of Fun, he was determined to share his enthusiasm for psychoanalysis. The members of his fledgling society, most of them Jews and Italians from the neighborhood quickly grasped its utopian potential.  While Socialism might liberate workers from oppression by their bosses, psychoanalysis would liberate their psyches not just from the tyranny of class but also from the cultural and sexual mores of the time.

Grass launched an amateur “dream film” competition, inviting members to restage their dreams on film and analyze them. In the late 1920s, he mounted a campaign to rebuild Dreamland amusement park, which had been destroyed by fire in 1911, as a great Freudian theme park. However by the late 1930’s it was clear that Depression-era Brooklyn was not ready for an amusement park that featured a fifty-foot-high “Libido” pavilion in the form of a half-naked prepubescent girl. It appeared that Grass had reached an impasse. But secretly he had begun something just as original, the prototype of a comic book, that he would call The Adventures of a Dreamer.

In her introduction to this new exhibition Zoe Beloff writes, “Grass was a man of my grandfather’s generation, yet he is a kindred spirit. Many of his anxieties seem to speak directly to our time. He suffered the aftereffects of a brutal war. He worried about his neighbors being evicted. He felt the guilt of an artist who wonders if he should not be more seriously engaged in a struggle for social justice. But beyond this, I was touched his desire to find ways to graphically manifest the unconscious and, though separated in time by more than seventy years, looking at the drawings in The Adventures of a Dreamer I found myself experiencing an almost uncanny sense of déjà vu as thought I myself had dreamed them too.”

Beloff considers herself a medium, an interface between the living and the dead, the real and the imaginary. Her work has been featured in international exhibitions and screenings; venues include the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Freud Dream Museum in St. Petersburg, and the Pompidou Center in Paris. Her “Somnambulists” installation is currently touring England in “The Magic Show” curated by Jonathan Allen and Sally O’Reilly. Her complete exhibition of the Coney Island Amateur Psychoanalytic Society will be on view at Kiosk in Ghent from October 7th through early November 2010.

Accompanying the exhibition is a facsimile edition of The Adventures of a Dreamer with an introduction by Zoe Beloff and published by Christine Burgin. The Coney Island Amateur Psychoanalytic Society and Its Circle edited by Zoe Beloff with essays by Zoe Beloff, Aaron Beebe, Norman Klein and Amy Herzog published by Christine Burgin will also be available.

Click here to visit Zoe's website