Japanese Calligraphy: A Significant Coincidence for Pierre Alechinsky

Starting from the biography and evolution of the art of Belgian artist Pierre Alechinsky, a psychobiographical hypothesis is formulated concerning an important shift in the artist’s work, namely, his choosing to combine painting with calligraphy and writing. This “choice” was made when the artist found himself in an artistic impasse. It is shown how the signifier “graph” appears over and over again in his artistic evolution and apparently functions as a master signifier. Based on biographical material from his childhood, it is argued that the left-handed Alechinsky, in choosing calligraphic painting, was able to circumvent the Oedipal threat and, in so doing, could identify himself with the desire of his mother who, not coincidentally, was a graphologist.

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On Psychoanalytic Technique as foundation for the investigation of Creativity

Can psychoanalytic technique be used to investigate creativity? With reference to MacMillan’s work (MacMillan et al., 2003) on Freud’s essay on the Moses of Michelangelo (Freud, 1914b), the author begins this article by arguing that this is not always productive. In Freud’s analysis of Michelangelo’s sculpture and of the artist’s intentions, Freud made use of introspection in a way that is analogous to the free floating attention of psychoanalysts. However, Freud’s construction can be discredited when one takes into account: 1. Michelangelo’s original plan for the tomb of Julius II; 2. two iconographical conventions used by the artist; and 3. the biblical text. The author goes on to argue that psychoanalytic technique can provide an adequate frame of reference for research on creation and creativity. Besides the speech of the artist, he discovers in the aim of repetition a handle on the interpretation of art. This point of view is illustrated with the work of Johan Clarysse, Edgar Allan Poe and Paul Auster.

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The poetical identity implosion of Fernando Pessoa – a psychoanalytical reading and interpretation of a literary oeuvre

First and foremost, this article deals with the process of reading and interpreting the oeuvre of the Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa. Furthermore, it wants to examine whether freudo-lacanian psychoanalysis anno 2008 is still relevant for analysing and unlocking the personality structure of an author. By means of four central remarks this article describes the practical and theoretical pitfalls the interpreter must be aware of if he to avoid losing sight of the oeuvre and person of Pessoa. The article ends with illustrating how psychoanalysis, in order to analyse the personality of Pessoa based on some biographical elements and his literary inheritance, forces the interpreter into a continuing process of reflection. In conclusion the author stresses the importance of an attitude that does not trivialize the gap between the (symbolic) dimensions of knowledge and the (real) dimension of truth that lies beyond every theory.