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Frida Kahlo and Tracey Emin: Psychoanalytic Approaches

Case Analysis One: Frida Kahlo 2000

The intention of the dissertation is to identify links between psychoanalytic ideas and fine art. In this section the artist's Frida Kahlo and Tracey Emin are discussed and in comparison to observe how psychoanalytic approaches vary when utilized with modern day and traditional artwork.

Frida Kahlo's work is associated with Surrealism, a skill movement first written about by Andre Breton; it was founded in 1924 expanding from Dadaism and was motivated by the psychoanalytic works of Freud. In the surrealist manifesto Breton recognizes the movement as a way by which the unconscious could be expressed, verbally, written or coated. The surrealists presumed that our mindful mind inhibits the subconscious part, which is heavily predicated on Freud's theory of the ego and the id. The surrealists thought that this is the reason why we have dreams; when we are asleep the reasoning mind cannot control the unconscious. Surrealism used a way called free association, formerly Freud's theory, whereby Freud's patient would automatically say what they are planning, regarding an artist they would paint without considering. Consequently, it appears surrealism is definitely not a style but a way of painting. By looking at the both Kahlo and Emin, both can be compared to distinguish the ways that psychoanalysis differs in the opposing varieties of work, one of traditional activity and the other a modern style.

Kahlo's work handles a diverse range of subject matter, from her own individuality and pain to politics, the Mexican artists' work has been deliberated over by many critics and artwork historians as her oeuvre protects many areas of art. It really is hard to put as surrealist as it mixes a global illusion with surrealism while also interacting with sexuality, race and gender. However, it is contended that Kahlo's work does indeed support psychoanalytical theories as there are many relationships between her work and Freud's work which really is a factor that the surrealist motion was heavily based upon.

In contrast the task of Tracey Emin will not use symbols on her behalf audience to imagine at, instead her work has a very clear and concise in so this means, through her highly personal work she leaves her audience unquestioning with no ambiguity surrounding it. However, it might be interesting to look at the psychological effects that the development of this type of work may have on the designer and to investigate how the process creating fine art of such personal characteristics has any emotional impact. This will enable knowledge of the motives behind such personal fine art; she articulates details about herself a majority of people would rather keep to themselves. In a similar way to Kahlo, both music artists draw on their own experiences to create fine art.

In Kahlo's painting, Tree of Wish (see figure one), she reveals the audience with an absolute divide between all the time. This use of the strongly imply circumstances of wish, to explore R. D Laing's theory of the unembodied self applied where in fact the "individual experience him self as being pretty much divorced form his body"(Laing1965:69) this applied to Kahlos work suggests that the severe function of reducing the image into two halves identifies the sensation of separation from her conscious body. The spectator is aware of the false home being portrayed within the image. According to Laing such parting denies the unembodied home of any actual interaction with everyday living. The theory suggests the unembodied do it yourself becomes a spectator of the life in which the real body lives, then does not connect with any experience the physical body encounters. This psychoanalytical process occurs credited to stress within ones life that the ego cannot package with, the disassociation is the ids way of guarding the ego.

In Kahlo's piece "Tree of hope" the painting is "not clothed in the prosaic words usually utilized by our thoughts. . . represented symbolically by means of similes and metaphors" (Freud, 1953:633) The image renders narrative, through the day harsh the truth is awakened; Kahlo collides with a profusion of pain, while at night she is established free from her anguish by her dreams, the unconscious mind allows her to flee. The usage of colours and selection of composition has allowed her to deliver her innermost anxieties and worries to the audience. These anxieties, according to Freud, are annoying inner state that people seek to avoid, it can act as a sign to the ego that things are not heading right, as humans we have problems with neurotic, simple fact and moral anxieties, to be able to deal with these Freud states that we therefore go into defence mechanisms that protect the ego from conflicts caused by the identification, the identification being the unconscious part of the human brain, the ego is the conscious rational mind.

The stress caused by daily lives is pertinent to Freudian theory of sublimation. In Freud's reserve "The ego and the id" (1923) he founded the idea of sublimation through superior recognition and puts forward that the "superego can be an internal moral organization of the parents" (Wright: 1995). He assumed that there are two separate packages of drives, both contained within the mind. The instincts contain self-preservation, which is from the ego; the second reason is sexual instincts that happen to be associated to the libido or identification. These instincts direct all human carry out until he produced the lifestyle of narcissism. These ideas differ over the many writings due to the theme and their affiliation to one another. To help expand this, if Freud's theory about stress and anxiety is applied to Tracey Emin's work it could be suggested that she goes through the process of sublimation; her work is a wholesome redirection of the emotion which is mainly found through skill, it is the process of changing the libido into accomplishments that are accepted by world. Emin's work is comparable to Kahlo's in the manner that her own private testimonies of her body reiterate testimonies in the multimedia. Emin expresses graphic explanations of her most personal thoughts as her work is based solely on her behalf life experiences.

For example, in Emin's work "The last thing I thought to you was don't leave me here" the audience is confronted with a photograph of any vulnerable girl, who is tucked in a spot of some small shack, suggesting she's been some kind of victim of maltreatment. Lacan's theory of the gaze is a theory that may be tested upon this picture, as the create of composition makes the audience feel as if they are ranking behind this naked, prone person, so the viewer is made to feel as if they can be gazing upon her, the spectators undertake the role of the voyeur. Emin poses the question, is she the "subject of desire?" There is a specific amount of irony within the photograph as a majority of viewers are solidified to the image of naked women anticipated to media; mediated imagery is usually of very assured, provocative women, this perplexing view unsteadies the audience because of the uneasy ambience. This is because photography can in a literal sense change the depicted person into an subject, that may distance both viewers and the seen. With her back again to us she unaware of who's looking, which creates a feeling of naivety within the task, so therefore the viewer becomes unpleasant with the role of the voyeur. This work has refined implications that are usually more suggestive compared to a majority of Emin's work that includes a great sense of immediacy and provocative material; she makes strong statements that judge the gaze of world that is put after women.

In compare Kahlos works show the audience how she gazes upon herself, in theory Kahlo's paintings have the ability to talk to the audience as they share something about the artist's feelings which people can relate to on many levels, through their personal capabilities. This facilitates Derrida's theory of deconstruction, whereby deconstruction of an body of word is not just one, it can have several different meanings, which theory can be applied to artwork because artwork itself can have significantly more then one interpretation. Within the essay Derrida two paintings in coloring: an email on art work, discourse and the track, Jeff Collins argues that Derrida "indicates a certain inability of discourse when confronted with artworks" (Holdridge, 2006:213). Collins contends that Derrida's theory advises art work is a confrontational method which issues anything that won't accept or surpass it; the writer denotes artwork that does not have a dialogue to deal with this theory.

Kahlo's work can be contradictory in indicating for each viewer; which is often from the notion of loss of life of the author; regarding to Barthes, the viewers own beliefs can transform the creators original intensions, the layering of so this means can only be produced from the viewer's point of view, as they'll see the work and interpret it according with their own context, beliefs experiences or personal capabilities. The viewer must have the ability to established apart the designer from the task release a the interpretation from any prejudgment. Barthes assume that this is dependent on the spectator's experience of Kahlo's work, being a renowned musician many people will be familiar with her histories and can derive an interpretation from that in itself. However, many audiences are not sure of the work will read it in an completely different light.

Kahlo also uses communications and paradoxes within her work. In "The tiny wounded deer" (see physique four) she portrays herself as this wounded dog, which has been taken at by numerous hunters. The arrows are metaphors for the pain she seems, in my opinion this could symbolize her accidental injuries from her mishap or it could represent experiencing numerous disappointments in her life. She appears calm, tranquil and relaxed while she actually is watched by, what we suppose is a hunter and dripping with bloodstream.

Kahlo was Mexican and they believed that a newborn human comes with an animal counterpart and that person's fate was linked with that of the pet that represents the calendar indication of your day of their birth. So she could be suggesting that her dog counterpart is dying and therefore metaphorically she is going to be rid of the animal that suits her and through her rebirth she will gain a new one. This painting it therefore a representation of her thoughts, which is her subconscious, by using goal reasoning strategies of displacement and condensation, Kahlo sets out to make a fabled identification for herself; the self-portrait consequently becomes a format for a parody of her own personality. In my opinion, surrealism and representing your brain is difficult since it is the unfamiliar, questioning it and supplying possible answers through painting.

Through her skill Kahlo is attaining control of herself, she portrays her feelings which attain internal relief. Emin also has a need to realize control would, in Freudian conditions this would be categorised as a kind of hysteria. Hysteria in current psychological terms is described as two categories, one being somatoform whereby mental problems such as stress can cause brain to feel physical pain. The second is dissociative which occurrs whenever a people psyche cannot deal with a particularly traumatic event. However, in Freudian terms this hysteria created by the subconsious part of the mind, which was guarding the ego from the identification. That is also relevent when looking at Kahlo's work, the subconsious creates this form of unreality which is obvious in the paintings. The straight lines and described edge to things of natural enities creates an order, an factor of control over something which is not controllable.

This can be analyzed with Deleuze's theory of percept. Corresponding to Deleuze, art work requires "simple modulations" whereby the designer is consciously considering and making decisions about the evolution of the piece of artwork; percepts are a emotional imprint of something, for example, just how an individual musician sees a very important factor will be mixed from another. Percepts stand for more than decision, they symbolize the way the artist is sensing about that artwork at the moment with time, or the subject which it is dependant on. Matching to Deleuze the making of the decision is not as important as modulations, Mјnter has put restrictions surrounding the manmade items, the "modulations. . . uncover the pushes 'that populate the entire world, that have an effect on us, that make us become'" (Sutton, 2008:75) Kahlo will keep her images separate, in "Tree of anticipation" (see shape one) she has a definite separate between all the time, by doing this she accentuates particular limitations that the colors alone wouldn't normally achieve, this establishes a harsh boarded image with limitations. It shows an absolute division between your individual and the natural, while responding to this we might also consider that the musician may feel the two cannot be merged. These percepts also arise in the works of Kahlo, "What Drinking water Gave Me" (1938) is a painting of Kahlo's that is specially relevant to Derrida's theory, other then her many self-portraits, in this particular painting, Kahlo has coated her thighs from the bath's point of view, her lower limbs are partially obscured by the bath normal water, and her feet stick out at the end, the painting has an uncanny aspect to it, we have all see this point of view so there's a familiarity to the work. Kahlo is allowing her audience to see things from her perspective. Through the structure we're able to see her thoughts going swimming about as she contemplates everything that has happened in her life. The modulations in this part are life and loss of life, something that is uncontrollable yet is inescapable. "Everything moves regarding to 1 law-life. . . Anguish and pain, pleasure and loss of life are only a process to be able to exist. " (Kahlo) Her written views are contrasting to that portrayed in her paintings. This painting is affective because it invites the viewer into the work; in influence the spectator completes it. Through this image Kahlo exhibits herself bare for each one to see; which contributes a certain irony to the painting, as it is almost a nude family portrait. Furthermore, this painting matches the classification of Surrealism because she utilizes imagery, which combines fantasy imagery with reality.

In this chapter, the dialogue of Kahlos and Emin's work have given understanding into the manner in which psychoanalytical ideas can be utilized in conjunction with artworks. It identifies the way the use of the theories can generate more depth into a painting which may well not experienced much substance to get started with. This in itself comfirms Deleuzes theory of percept displaying how the designers head is both in the true wold in which the body is available and in the wonderful world of the personal, this theory will be challenged further in relationship with Cindy Shermans work in the next chapter.

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