Friday, June 23, 2017

The Soul of Art by Christian Gaillard

The beginnings of art are lost in the dim reaches of prehistory, eons before humans began recording and codifying their experiences in writing. And yet philosophers, artists, and historians have for centuries noted the intimate and perhaps inseparable relationship between human consciousness and the artistic impulse.

As analyst and professor Christian Gaillard notes, we can see some of the earliest expressions of this intimacy in the cave paintings at Lascaux, and the relationship continues to the present day in the works of modern creators such as Jackson Pollock and Anselm Kiefer. What fascinates Gaillard—and, indeed, what fascinated Carl Jung—is, among other things, the notion that art enables us to explore our inner landscapes in ways that are impossible by any other means.

In The Soul of Art: Analysis and Creation, Gaillard takes readers on a tour of his own “gallery of the mind,” examining works of art from throughout history—and prehistory—that have moved, challenged, and changed him. He also explores instances where particular works of art have proven deeply significant in his or his colleagues’ understanding of their analyses and their ability to serve as capable guides on the journey toward self-awareness.

From its origins in Paleolithic caves to Abstract Expressionism and beyond, the essence or soul of art is revealed in this charming book.  The psychology at play within a broad range of artistic imagery is explicated in magisterial fashion by Jungian analyst and professor at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Christian Gaillard.   The reader is led stepwise into experiences of complexity and depth through layers of explications of artworks aided by amplification and art-historical erudition.  This volume is destined to become one of the special jewels in the Fay Lecture Series.—Joseph Cambray, Ph D, provost, Pacifica Graduate Institute; past-president of the IAAP

"This book, Gaillard says, "is not the result of a plan." A lucky circumstance, which renders its flow similar to the artistic creation. There is a parallelism between it and analysis: both are healing processes in which the Ego leaves the stage to the Unconscious. Psychoanalysis strives to heal an individual, while the artist wants to render more complete— “to heal” is etymologically connected with “whole”— an image or another collective expression. Both might be imperfect, yet are pillars of an existence looking for meaning. From the caves of Lascaux to Anselm Kiefer, Gaillard traces a splendid bridge between the two."—Luigi Zoja, past president of International Association for Analytical Psychology

“…a brilliant account…a book that sums up a lifetime of encounters with art and imagination.”—Murray Stein, author of Soul – Treatment and Recovery - Murray Stein, author of Soul – Treatment and Recovery

About the Author
CHRISTIAN GAILLARD is a doctor of psychology, training analyst, supervisor, and former president of the French Society of Analytical Psychology. Previously serving as a professor at the École Nationale Supériure des Beaux-Arts in Paris, he was also the founding director of the Cahiers Jungiens de Psychanalyse.

Christian Gaillard has also contributed an extremely interesting chapter on Jung, Neumann and Art to Turbulent Times, Creative Minds (pp. 261-297, with plenty of illustrations):

     The theme, or question, we are about to discuss, is not at all simple: Jung, Neumann and Art. The question is not at all simple, because, as I hope to show, it challenges us to examine certain essentials characteristics of the psychology and work of both Jung and Neumann. 
     We shall proceed in three or four steps - as visually as possible. 
     First of all, I must speak of a wicked misunderstanding. A misunderstanding or misinterpretation we hear repeatedly in our Institutes, our publications, or even in our congresses. It concerns Jung’s relationship to the modern and contemporary arts.
     Hence, we will be looking at some of the works that moved Jung and Neumann, along with their approaches to them. Of course, we will also consider some pages from the Red Book and certain drawings by Neumann.

     Finally, I would like for us to consider a current, and very unexpected, event, which therefore was unknown to Jung and Neumann: the recent public showing of Jung’s Red Book at the last Biennale of Contemporary Art in Venice.

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