The Art of Pathography

The artists’ creation of a ‘true self-portrait’ is bound up in meanings of self-hood and individuation; by means of his/her practice becoming a method of developing the artists’ need for self-discovery. Through this self-exploration, the artefact becomes an attempt to reveal something of the artist, a therapeutic tool perhaps, by which the photograph is used as a form of depth psychology. A mixed methodology of autoethnography and thematic analysis is undertaken of the language of response – language generated from the viewing of purely visual data – to examine and record patterns or themes within this information that is relevant to the research question. Through this form of removed analysis - the interpretation of the photograph and not the artist - can a new internal world of the artist be revealed? Is there a particular reading that could be universalised or is this unique to me? Or is the analysis a series of projections, a more of an understanding of the readers? The concerns of this thesis are with the ways in which the production of these photographs and their reception can be incorporated into an art practice and a new self-portrait is revealed.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Paper On: 'Art And Chaos' Marie-Christine Press

It does seem paradoxical that in order to make oneself whole, one should induce a sense of madness and disintegration.

Marie-Christine Press

Many would be interested in the role of the unconscious in regards expression of creativity and ideas in photography, letting new symbols of expression emerge, hoping to engage feeling with communication, believing in the power of the unconscious to nurture (and occasionally hinder) the creative effort.

My starting point is with a preoccupation with self-discovery and that relationship between my inner and outside world. Where does the feeling about my external world connect to the process of conflicts in my inner world? What is experienced outside is perhaps a mirror, or a door to the unconscious. In terms of healing, perhaps a way of reconnecting with parts of myself that predates language.

This journey seems to have been based on my intense feeling of disillusionment, in conjunction with, an inability to manage certain feelings around separateness and separation and more importantly, perhaps, an inability to convey, to communicate this disillusionment. Theory would suggest that this can be seen as a failure to negotiate fully, in Kleinian thought, the depressive position and, photographic expressionism, as with the therapeutic relationship, is all about reengaging with this concept.[1]

I was being denied access. The creation of serious defences where being constructed, defence mechanisms brought to the fore to inhibit by journey. When one is fumbling for words, photography can be part of that search for truth, trying to remain faithful to an folding process of knowledge and clarification.

As in the journey of psychoanalytical therapy, the creative process requires a framework, a space of trust and a place where chaos can be accepted as a temporary world. A place to mourn. The capacity to mourn loss is an important part of this process, as it can often be prerequisite for new life. During this process of internal and external reorganisation, there is with it, with the loss of something, what seems, very valuable,

[1] Klein saw the depressive position as an important developmental milestone that continues to mature throughout the life span. The splitting and part object relations that characterize the earlier phase are succeeded by the capacity to perceive that the other who frustrates is also the one who gratifies. Schizoid defenses are still in evidence, but feelings of guilt, grief, and the desire for reparation gain dominance in the developing mind.

In the depressive position, the infant is able to experience others as whole, which radically alters object relationships from the earlier phase.[10]:3 “Before the depressive position, a good object is not in any way the same thing as a bad object. It is only in the depressive position that polar qualities can be seen as different aspects of the same object.”[14]:37 Increasing nearness of good and bad brings a corresponding integration of ego.

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