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.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Image: The Mirror

Does psychoanalysis recollect the forgotten past, making ways of resurrecting and containing deep experience? Or does it create words from feelings, making the unconscious conscious, enriching meanings to events that may give meaning to the here and now? Or does this perhaps describe the artistic endeavour, the creation of photographs to answer these questions. The analyst Liz Bennett, of ‘The Guild’ revues the self-portrait of Spencer Rowell.

‘As I revue this image, it is hard for me to reconcile some aspects of it, perhaps it is hard for the subject to reconcile aspects of himself’. The shape of the work suggests an old fashioned mirror, which allows you to see different views or aspects of the self and the suggestion of a lack of mirroring. This image suggests raw, strong feelings. The subtext seems to be, “Something is coming out of my mouth and the process is horrible and painful, yet I am spewing light and beauty.” Perhaps this is about the subject’s experience of therapy? Is he spewing words and feelings? Or a difficulty in finding a voice for his feelings, something within which he cannot accept and must vomit out, but when it comes out, it is beautiful. Alongside this beauty there is a sense of disturbance and anxiety, a struggle– powers that are beyond control’.

-There I Sit Before my Mother’s Mirror 2011

1 comment:

  1. Again, comment on this? What kind of audience does Bennett represent (obviously a fairly informed audience, but also one informed specifically by certain psychoanalytic ideas - which ones?) Do you agree with this interpretation? If so, can you explain why? Bennett raises several questions - why not respond to them?