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At the shrink, furniture to say it

In 1998, everyone followed with fervor the Football World Cup which took place in France. In Buenos Aires, in the days preceding the elimination of the Albiceleste in the quarter-finals against the Netherlands, it is impossible to escape the cries of the enthusiastic crowd, the noise of television sets or crackling radios. Something to annoy the American photographer Shellburne Thurber, allergic to sport.

Came to the Argentine capital to visit a friend, she stayed with a psychoanalyst. Faced with the distress of her guest, desperate at not being able to read in peace, the latter offers her to take refuge in her study. ” I was good, remembers the 74-year-old artist. Both very far from the world and at the same time in a place frequented by many people every day. »

A few tens of minutes

The next day, the artist, known for her images of empty places (museums, apartments, motels…), asks her hostess if she can photograph her deserted office. Not only does the therapist accept, but she puts her in touch with several of her peers, many of whom are in Buenos Aires: the city has an exceptional density of psychoanalysts per inhabitant.

This phenomenon owes its origin to the country’s history of immigration, which came largely from Mitteleuropa, the cradle of the discipline. Shellburne Thurber then goes from office to office, the practitioners leaving him free for a few tens of minutes. Back in the United States, the photographer continued this work in Boston, where she still lives today. His images are grouped in analysis, to be published in February by Kehrer editions.

“The patient is safe there and yet it is here that he will release the unspoken, the repressed. It is also here, and only here, that he lives a very strong intellectual adventure. » Shellburne Thurber

Although Shellburne Thurber did not do psychoanalytic therapy strictly speaking, she was nevertheless followed for several years by a psychotherapist, also a psychoanalyst. The photographer sees in the cabinet of the shrink “a space necessarily apart” : “There are so many conflicting things going on. The patient is safe there and yet it is here that he will release the unsaid, the repressed. It is also here, and only here, that he lives a very strong intellectual adventure, which accompanies him in his everyday life. » She cites many stories of patients having dreamed of furniture or trinkets that they had observed several times a week for years.

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