[artinfo] Psychoanalytical Perspectives on Art, International Symposium.

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Tue Mar 21 13:30:17 CET 2006

Signs of Psyche. Psychoanalytical Perspectives on Art
International Symposium.
Kunsthaus Graz/Space 04
March 31 – April 1, 2006
Curators: Brigitte Verlic, Adam Budak

Symposium in the context of the exhibitions Two 
or Three or Something. Maria Lassnig, Liz Larner 
and Gods in Exile. Salvador Dalí, Albert Oehlen 
et al.

http://www.kunsthausgraz.at/> http://www.kunsthausgraz.at/

"I may say at once that I am no connoisseur in 
art, but simply a layman (...) Nevertheless, 
works of art do exercise a powerful effect on me, 
especially those of literature and sculpture, 
less often of painting” – confessed Sigmund Freud 
in The Moses of Michelangelo (1914) – and he 
continued a few passages later “
but why should 
the artist's intention not be capable of being 
communicated and comprehended in words, like any 
other fact of mental life? Perhaps where great 
works of art are concerned this would never be 
possible without the application of 

On the occasion of the 150th anniversary of 
Sigmund Freud’s birth, Kunsthaus Graz is proud to 
present an international symposium which aims at 
investigating the connections between 
psychoanalysis and art, taking into 
consideration, amongst others, the current 
exhibitions Two or Three or Something. Maria 
Lassnig, Liz Larner and Gods in Exile. Salvador 
Dali, Albert Oehlen et al. as well as the 
spectacular architecture of Kunsthaus Graz.


Friday, March 31st, 7pm
Welcoming Word
Peter Pakesch (Kunsthaus Graz)
Brigitte Verlic (Univ. Klinik für Medizinische 
Psychologie und Psychotherapie, Graz)

Keynote Speech
Reimut Reiche, Psychoanalyst, Frankfurt/Main
How Do Psychoanalysts Imagine What Happens When a 
Work of Art Comes In to Existence?
Psychoanalysis and art share something: They both 
create an imaginary space – of language, of 
sounds, of forms, or meanings – a space where the 
language, the sounds, the forms and the meanings 
are transformed from something into something 
different. For instance, in psychoanalysis a 
bodily symptom is transformed into biographical 
meaning and then – ideally – solved. In his 
presentation Reimut Reiche is going to explain 
some so-called psychic transformation rules with 
the help of which modern psychoanalysis is trying 
to conceive how this transformation of something 
into something different happens in the process 
of the creation of a work of art.

Saturday, April 1st
Karl-Josef Pazzini, Reimut Reiche, August Ruhs

Workshop: Psychoanalytical Interpretation of Works of Art.
From the psychoanalytical perspective, 
approaching a work of art by interpreting it 
means laying bare latent attitudes of desire on 
the part of both the producer and the consumer. 
In a dialectics of exhibitionism and curiosity 
concerning this matter, processes of idealization 
and sublimation always come into operation that 
in our actual experience of the art object 
impress us in the form of eye deception and 
taming of the gaze. Their suspension and 
realization, which in the given context means 
making things visible that are initially 
invisible, can be promoted in an especially 
impressive way by means of free association of 
thoughts within a group of spectators in the 
frame of a psychoanalytical interpretation of 
works of art.

Jan Tabor, Architectural theoretician, University of Applied Arts, Vienna
Samy Teicher, Psychonalayst, Vienna
The Architecture of Kunsthaus Graz and the 
Awakening of Imagination. Psychoanalytical 
Kunsthaus Graz ranks among those few contemporary 
buildings where the architects have managed to 
satisfy to a great extent the people’s desire for 
built emotion. Engaging in a dialogue, a 
psychoanalyst and an architecture theorist are 
trying to find out why this is the case. What is 
behind the form, the exterior appearance, the 
interiors, the details, etc.?

Renata Salecl, Philosopher and Sociologist, 
Department of Law at the Institute of 
Criminology, Ljubljana, Slovenia
Be Yourself! Art and Subjectivity in Late Capitalism.
We live in the world that seems to have less 
social prohibition in regard to how one is 
supposed to achieve happiness, where we are 
supposed to be some kind of self-creators. In 
this highly individualized society people however 
face an important anxiety provoking dilemma: "Who 
am I for myself?" If on the one hand we live 
under assumption that everything in life can be a 
matter of choice on the other hand, the very 
choice itself seems to be anxiety provoking. 
French philosopher Michel Foucault has already in 
the 1980s propagated the idea that one should 
make one's life into a work of art. How does 
today's art world react to this new push to 
individualism? And how do contemporary visual 
arts react to the new anxieties that are related 
to it? The lecture will rely on Freudian and 
Lacanian analysis in trying to answer these 

Discussion moderated by August Ruhs, 
Psychoanalyst, Wiener Universitätsklinik für 
Tiefenpsychologie und Psychotherapie, Vienna

Penny Florence, Art Historian, The Slade School of Fine Arts, London, UK
Colour, Sex and the ‘Grey Mirror’. Differencing the ‘Ego’s Era’
Moving around and within Liz Larner's recent 
work, this lecture outlines an energetic and 
variegated reading of Subjectivity and knowledge, 
to demonstrate why Larner is among the most 
significant artists at work today. The 'grey 
mirror' of the ego's simultaneous need for 
reflection and introjection obscures the 
structural quality of colour, whether 'colour' is 
understood through race, sex, reason or 
aesthetics. Finally, Penny Florence speculates on 
the mobility of Larner's œuvre as countering this 
entropic tendency, exemplifying the universal as 
a position through which the Subject may glimpse 
understandings beyond the commoditised and fixed 
knowledge of contemporary economies of thought 
and exchange.

Dawn Ades, Director of the Centre for Studies of 
Surrealism and its Legacies, Essex University, UK
Dali’s Tragic Myth of Perpignan Station
In 1963 Salvador Dalí published a lost text, The 
Tragic Myth of Millet’s Angelus that he had 
written in the early 1930s at the time of his 
obsession with Millet's pious painting. The 
Tragic Myth of Millet’s Angelus was a 
“paranoiac-critical” study of this obsession 
based on Freudian case histories and informed by 
his recent contacts with Jacques Lacan. Its 
rediscovery prompted him to produce two major 
paintings on the Angelus theme: Perpignan Station 
and Portrait of my Dead Brother.

Discussion moderated by August Ruhs

Robert Pfaller, Philosoph, Kunstuniversität Linz 
and Technische Universität, Vienna
The Literalness of Passions. About the 
Fascination of Art and the Comedy of 
For the most part, psychoanalysis develops its 
best theory of art where it doesn’t talk about 
art at all: While investigating dreams, 
compulsive acts, Freudian slips or jokes it 
treats its subject-matter like a “sacred text” 
where every detail is irreplaceable, necessary 
and meaningful. Art, that at the present moment 
is confronting its own fascination with 
remarkably great suspicion, can benefit from this 
kind of psychoanalysis. Freud’s discovery shows 
that there are cultural events that depend on the 
signifier, and, that allegedly enlightened 
reason, which prefers to draw on nameable 
meanings, turns into unreasonableness exactly 
through this: by anxiously avoiding studying 
those disquieting and glamorous facts.

Karl-Josef Pazzini, Psychoanalyst, Hamburg University
Painting, ‘Something in Which the View Is 
Sacrificed’ (Lacan). On the Fear of Handing Over 
Lacan says about the painter that he gives image 
that shall be “something for the eye to feed on”, 
that he invites the person to whom the picture is 
presented “to lay down his gaze there like one 
lays down one’s weapons”. Yet there are people 
who cannot lay down the gaze weapon, i.e. they 
say they can’t do anything with this or that 
painting / work of art. What are the reasons for 
this? What does it actually mean to conceive the 
gaze like a weapon?

Closing Discussion moderated by Elisabeth Schlebrügge and August Ruhs

Information Kunsthaus Graz:
T: +43 (0)316/8017 9201
E-Mail: intendanz at museum-joanneum.at

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