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Art in Psychoanalysis: A Contemporary Approach to Creativity and Analytic Practice

Editor : Gabriela Goldstein

Art in Psychoanalysis: A Contemporary Approach to Creativity and Analytic Practice
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A revolution is brewing in psychoanalysis: after a century of struggle to define psychoanalysis as a science, the concept of psychoanalysis as an art is finding expression in an unconventional ‘return to Freud’ that reformulates the relationship between art and psychoanalysis and in this process, discovers and explores uncharted routes through art to re-think problems in contemporary clinical work. This book explores recent contributions to the status of psychoanalytic thought in relation to art and creativity and the implications of these investigations for today´s analytic practice. The title, 'Art in Psychoanalysis', reflects its double perspective: art and its contributions to theory and clinical practice on the one hand, and the response from psychoanalysis and its “interpretation” of art. These essays expose the “aesthetic value of analytic work when it is able to ‘create’ something new in the relation with the patient”.

The authors surprise the reader with an immense array of fresh and stimulating hypotheses which reflect the originality of their own creative process that has overturned ideas including the ‘application of psychoanalysis’ to art and the entity of the object of art. Clinical advances and implications for analytic theory, creativity and the ‘function of art’ may be anticipated, since constant reference to clinical work communicates the creative spirit of analysts at work today. They show how the interplay of psychoanalysis and art implicit in the analyst’s know-how promotes the analysand’s creative potential within the analytic process. This dialogue between contemporary psychoanalysis and art enriches and renews our knowledge of psychoanalytic phenomena, particularly the new modes of psychopathology.

Composed in the manner of a fresco or a symphony, some chapters are conceptually tight whereas others are more open and interpretive. Some salient topics are an inversion of “Form and Content,” and the “subtle movement” involved expressing affects beyond words, provoked by art. The different ways art transmutes personal history and the “limits of interpretation” are investigated. The sublime and the uncanny are revisited and an extended metapsychology of creativity is developed. The investigation of time in art reveals a “transitional time”. The introduction of art in the analytic situation explores “fragments of a complex world” bordering on “curative phenomena” relating health to madness. A construction called an “Ego Alter” emerges from analytic work. This new creation, like the riddles and enigma of creativity, opens its secret world that lies between love, strangeness and alienation.

Reviews and Endorsements:

‘I can proudly confirm that this book presents the most updated and culturally innovative contribution to the fields of psychoanalysis and art. The widest, most renowned and internationally connected psychoanalytic community – the International Psychoanalytical Association – offers an amazing collection of essays that explore the many aspects of contemporary psychoanalytic creativity and of research into the artistic sphere.

As readers will acknowledge, “the art of psychoanalysis” and “the psychoanalysis of art” are engaged in a much more natural and harmonious dialogue than they had been in the past, when there existed manifold uncertainties about reciprocal boundaries and potential conflict of competencies between these two fascinating worlds. Art in Psychoanalysis: A Contemporary Approach to Creativity and Analytic Practice constitutes a paramount example of this dialogue. The authors go beyond the traditional analytic interpretation of art to shed light on its function and the latter's implications for clinical practice. Both analysts and artists, from very different places, experience the unending task of the creative process.

The deep contact with the unconscious and preconscious, the intra- and intersubjective interplay in the intermediate area, the special alternation of primary and secondary processes, the inquiry into tertiary processes, the ability to master entering and leaving the timeless dimension, and cultural respect toward diverse experiences and approaches render contemporary analysts into the most suitable explorers of the artistic universe. At the same time, such exploration offers new perspectives to tackle challenges posed to analysts by present-day society.

After more than one century of psychoanalysis, a new extraordinary vision is achieved on art and on the creativity of analytic work, as this multifaceted book wonderfully demonstrates.’
- Dr. Stefano Bolognini, former president Soc. Psi. of Italy and president elect of the International Psychoanalytical Association

Notes about the author(s):

Gabriela Goldstein is a practicing psychoanalyst, a full member and training analyst of the Argentine Psychoanalytic Association and representative on the Board, and a past member of the Publications Committee. She is also a member of the Psychoanalysis and Culture Committee of the IPA, and the author of The Aesthetic Experience: Writings on Art and Psychoanalysis, as well as various articles and book chapters on the subjects of art, love and sexuality. She received the Baranger-Mom award in 2003, and the Storni award in 2004. She is also an architect and a painter.

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