Let yourself be inert, wait till the incomprehensible power…that has broken you restores you a little, I say a little, for henceforth you will always keep something broken about you. Tell yourself this, too, for it is a kind of pleasure to know that you will never love less, that you will never be consoled, that you will constantly remember more and more.
Marcel Proust, 1907. Letter to his friend Georges de Lauris, regarding the recent death of his mother.
Abstract to Critical Report for MA Fine Art
Throughout and beyond this critical report I am exploring whether concepts of mourning can be used as a method for understanding the processes of artistic practices and the use of everyday objects within them.
I will firstly outline my understanding of the psychoanalytic theories around concepts of mourning born out of Sigmund Freud’s essay of 1917, Mourning and Melancholia, and then develop these concepts through the writing of current practising psychoanalyst and author, Dr. Darian Leader and Professor Tammy Clewell’s essay, Mourning Beyond Melancholia.
In this first section the word ‘object’ is used psychoanalytically and refers to either a person or a thing.
I will then explore the use of objects, (things) and material culture in personal, social relationships and how this links to the process of mourning. Within this section I refer to the anthropological findings of Dr. Daniel Miller giving philosophical and art theoretical references to support his findings through the writings of Jean Baudrillard, Walter Benjamin, and Norman Bryson. These studies then develop my thinking around the use of the object in art as I consider the way in which concepts of mourning and melancholia can expand our understanding of art practice through an exploration of current artists, such as Peter Dreher, making reference to the thinking of the art critics Ernst Gombrich, Arthur C. Danto and Yve-Alain Bois. In conclusion I offer my current position, that knowledge of the psychological process of mourning can add to our understanding of the nature and function of objects in art practice.
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