Skip to main content

IMPORTANT INFORMATION: Our booking system is currently down. Please call +44 (0) 20 7514 7015 or email to contact our team. Booking will be available again in the next 24 hours.

Your creative future starts here:


New work by Chelsea Professor Paul Coldwell examines Freud’s migration to London

Paul Coldwell, Temporarily Accessioned-X-Ray (2016).
Written by
Sarah McLean
Published date
23 February 2018

A new exhibition of new work by Chelsea’s Professor Paul Coldwell opens this week at London’s Freud Museum, focusing on the forced exile of Freud from Vienna in 1938 to settle in London for the last year of his life.

The exhibition entitled Temporarily Accessioned: Freud’s Coat Revisited contains 15 artworks including a life-sized image constructed from x-rays of the coat that Freud purchased to travel to London and a reconstruction of the objects on Freud’s desk, 3D scanned and printed in pure white nylon.

Coldwell worked with UAL’s London College of Fashion to use non-contact 3D scanning technology to replicate the objects in a white semi-translucent nylon to present a ‘ghost’ of Freud’s life in Vienna.

Speaking to UAL, he added: “I wanted to capture what these objects meant to Freud in the context of being exiled from his home in Vienna, having to start from scratch in another country – but also highlight that he was lucky; he was welcomed in England and had influential friends unlike many migrants.”

The x-ray of the coat Freud wore when he migrated to London was taken at the National Gallery. Coldwell created a life-sized image of the coat, piecing together the x-rays to reveal the story underneath the surface – a ‘psychoanalysis’ of his coat.

Developed over the last two years by Coldwell working with the Freud Museum in both London and Vienna, the exhibition marks twenty years since he first exhibited at the museum. Some of the pieces have been shown in a joint exhibition with the artist and photographer Bettina von Zwehl, titled Setting Memory, at the Sigmund Freud Museum in Vienna, curated by the Director of the museum, Monika Pessler.

Paul Coldwell, A Ghostly Return (2016). Image above: Paul Coldwell, Temporarily Accessioned-X-Ray (2016).

Paul Coldwell, A Ghostly Return (2016). Image above: Paul Coldwell, Temporarily Accessioned-X-Ray (2016).

Together the works address the themes of absence and presence, of objects and loss, and examines what it means to have to flee one’s home and become a migrant.

“I think the exhibition taps into ideas about migration and what it means to provide safety which feel are quite relevant themes today” explained Coldwell. “I think this has a very contemporary resonnance especially at a time when so many countries are tightening borders.”

The journey of the coat and the x-ray is also captured in Paul Coldwell’s book Freud’s Coat (originally published in 1996) in collaboration with The National Gallery, London and the Freud Museum which will be on display as part of the exhibition at the Freud Museum.

The exhibition Temporarily Accessioned: Freud’s Coat Revisited runs from 22 February – 7 May 2017. Find out more on the Freud Museum website.

Paul Coldwell’s UAL research profile.