08 Feb 2014 10:00 : ART AS LACK: Psychoanalysis between the Artist, Artwork and Spectator








In this workshop, James Merrigan (artist and art critic) will look at art through the theoretical lens of psychoanalysis. Since the 1980s, the rise of psychoanalytic and feminist theory as interpretative strategies for art has been exponential in comparison to other theoretical approaches. Although not always credited, Freud still lurks behind the artwork and artist, oftentimes disguised under the linguistics of Jacques Lacan. Without psychoanalytic theory we would not consider the intersubjective relationship between the artist, artwork and spectator. Arguments for and against the unconscious being an agent in the creative act will be discussed, alongside the correlation between art and madness, art and trauma, art for art’s sake vs. expression, the symptom and sublimation of art, artist envy, and the artwork as ‘lack’ (lack = desire).

The workshop will be spread over four classes, starting on Saturday 8 February 2014 (from 10am – 1pm), and continuing on the 22 February, 8 and 22 March. Participants will be asked to read prescribed texts prior to each class, which will be discussed and then expanded upon with the use of videos that model contemporary art practice and theory in relation to psychoanalysis. Although pre-Modernist art is where psychoanalysis began its journey into the psyche of the artist with Freud’s essays on Leonardo and Michelangelo, these workshops will primarily discuss Modernist and Postmodernist art, from Marcel Duchamp to Miroslaw Balka, with some hindsight analysis on the art of the distant past.


James Merrigan is an artist and art critic. As an art critic his main focus lies in writing and distributing art criticism outside of standard frameworks. From early on, psychoanalytic theory has informed the basis of his approach to art-making and conceptualising

Original post: Psychoanalytic Section Events Calendar