Strangely Familiar / Unheimlich

Tomie Ohtake2013

Instituto Tomie Ohtake

Instituto Tomie Ohtake
São Paulo, Brazil

Each language offers its own shortcuts through ideas and emotions. In Portuguese, for example, we are proud to share the word saudade, feeling contaminated by affection and pain and in other languages can only be expressed by combinations between the ideas of lack and melancholy. On the other hand, we do not have a word that equals the term unheimlich, consecrated and debated by Freud in his essay "Das Unheimlich" of 1919. Without a direct translation into Portuguese, the word indicates something that is between strange and familiar, which is excessively close and at the same time emerges from a threatening unrecognizable context.

Although focused on psychoanalysis, reflection on the term goes beyond this field. At its core lies the discovery that the strangely familiar is nothing more than the deepening of one of the meanings of the ambivalent term heimlich (domestic, familiar): what is protected in the intimacy of the house is also what is hidden from the gaze of the other, which remains collected, and it is when it emerges unexpectedly out of its seclusion that it produces the effect of unheimlich.

The motto of this exhibition is to seek approximations to this concept, through paths that go alongside the works of an instigating group of artists. The new works of Alice Miceli, Mariana Manhães, Rodrigo Matheus and Thiago Honório, each in its own way, reorganize the polarities at play in the apprehension of this feeling that, even difficult to define, echoes some memory in each one of us.

Paulo Miyada


  • Title: Strangely Familiar / Unheimlich
  • Creator: Instituto Tomie Ohtake
  • Date Created: 2013
  • Location: São Paulo
  • Subject Keywords: Instituto Tomie Ohtake
  • Type: image
  • Rights: Instituto Tomie Ohtake
  • Medium: image

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