The exhibition presents more than 200 paintings, which from the point of view of Sigmund Freud, illustrate the three main humiliations of human narcissism in recent history. Among the exhibits are the masterpieces of Arnold Beklin, Ferdinand Hodler, Albert Anker, Adolph Wölfli, Felix Vallotton, Annie Stebler-Hopf, Clara von Rappard and other Swiss painters.
The starting point for the exhibition is Sigmund Freud's 1917 essay on the three humiliations of human narcissism. According to Freud, three scientific discoveries fundamentally shocked the understanding of mankind about themselves: Copernican cosmology, Charles Darwin's theory of evolution, and Freud's own theory of the unconscious. What Freud describes in his essay as a narcissistic humiliation is the discovery that man is not the center of the universe and does not control nature, or even himself. The exhibition broadcasts a mood of uncertainty, disappointment in the world, as well as a person’s flight from the real world and the pursuit of the miraculous. In the works of this time, mirrors, hermaphrodites and rooms, objects and symbols of an unresolved ego are increasingly found.