Modern Art? Let’s Re-Name it “Psychoanalytical Art”
As I said in my last post, modern art shouldn’t be seen primarily as an expression of a certain epoch. That’s why I suggest we call it Psychoanalytical Art instead.
Doesn’t modern art often do what psychoanalysis tries to do? It turns us inside out, taking our entrails, so to speak, and putting them up for us to see. And that’s a good thing to do sometimes, to shine the light on the creepy crawlers in the darkness of our being. It’s a good thing to an extent, as a recognition of our whole being, but the darkness alone is not our whole being. There is an outside part too. We have skin as well as entrails. We are meant to bathe in the sun of the outside world and not just dig in the darkness of our own being.
However, admitting what is lurking in the darkness of ourselves is vital, because—that’s at least what Freud said—growing up means to learn the art of suppression, playing those instruments called “restraint” and “inhibition.”
When we were babies, we suppressed nothing. But we learned to suppress our desires, since society would not be possible without such suppression.
And yet, the things we suppress are still there. They are still part of who we are. And it is those hidden “entrails” of our being that modern art turns inside out, just like a psychoanalyst attempts to do. It brings the subconscious—dark, wild, self-centered, violent, desirous—to the light of consciousness.
Seeing the result can be alarming, even horrifying. But it is a good alarm, a good horror. One that makes us know ourselves.
That’s why I propose to re-name modern art “Psychoanalytical Art.” It shouldn’t be seen as something contemporary, new, reflecting our current developments, but as a permanent art style.
Contemporary art shouldn’t be restricted to Psychoanalytical Art, and at the same time everyone should recognize the value of Psychoanalytical Art. Through it, we see our subconscious on the canvas—and that’s the safest place for it. How much better it is to commit a dark, violent, confusing, sub-rational act on a canvas than in actuality.
And how healthily humbling it is for a saint to look at such a canvas and say, “I, too, have these things on the inside of me. I’ve only learned to suppress them. I’ve learned to rise above them, but they might catch up with me anytime. They are still there, and subconsciously they probably still drive a lot of what I do.”
P.S.: Freud’s concept of suppression was not the last word spoken on the topic. It is certainly not the only way to view our development from infancy to adulthood, but you can’t dismiss it out of hand either.