A life in portraits: Lucian Freud’s visual autobiography

Portrait painter Lucian Freud made intimate and autobiographical art. He painted his loved ones in the familiar setting of his studio and personal space. By choosing the same subjects over and over again, he created series of paintings: a series of lovers, of children, of his mother, of animals and pets and a series of self-portraits. The portraits can be seen as excerpts from a diary and records of the different relationships he maintained during his life. He also established affectionate bonds through the process of painting, that took months. Being his model was the best way of getting to know him and to be part of his life. The portraits show different chapters of relationships and nuances in the feeling of both painter and model.
In this article the entanglement of the work and life of this important 20th-century artist is investigated with the objective to gain a deeper insight in this distinct oeuvre, the artist, his creative process and the mechanism of art as self-expression.

On the Nature of the Creative Process in Art Brut, Reflections Inspired by the Work of Arthur Perreira

Starting from the viewpoint that Art Brut cannot be differentiated from professional art on the basis of an analysis of either its style or its content, the author questions the nature of the creative process in Art Brut, with reference to his observation of a psychotic artist and to the work of Jean Oury on Creation and Schizophrenia (1989). It is argued that in Art Brut there are three main elements: (i) the need to create which manifests itself as an attempt to cure; (ii) a characteristic attempt to communicate or to install a social bond; and (iii) endless repetition. However, while these elements may be particularly explicit in Art Brut and therefore suggest an interesting perspective for the study of the creative process in general, it is concluded that they do not in themselves constitute a set of distinctive criteria with which to differentiate “Art Brut” from professional art.

Pierre Alechinsky’s painted handwriting in the light of graphology: psychoanalytical hypothesis

In this contribution the work of Belgian artist Pierre Alechinsky is analysed from an interdisciplinary perspective. First, within the perspective of art history, the author traces the trajectory of the artist starting from his encounters with the Cobra movement, the Chinese artist Walasse Ting and the Japanese calligraphers, to the use of acrylic during the elaboration of a painted handwriting that characterises his work and that is partially determined by childhood experiences. Then, the author delves deeper into this work by elaborating a psychoanalytic hypothesis. Starting from the insistence of the signifier “graph” in the artistic trajectory and in the discourse of the artist, and using the method proposed by Freud in his essay on Leonardo da Vinci and the paradigm of dream interpretation, the hypothesis is formulated that, during the elaboration process of his own painted handwriting, the artist identifies himself with the desire of his mother, who had a passion for graphology. Moreover, it is argued that the left-handed “written” paintings take root in the unconscious of the left-handed Alechinsky.

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