The Psychotherapeutic Labour of the Subject within Visual Creative Therapy

This paper explores what happens in the subject when creating visual art. It is argued on the first level that there are four steps in the creation process: (i) forming the image; (ii) creating the object; (iii) the decision to finish; and (iv) the separation. On a more advanced level, one needs to be aware of the essential difference between the status of the creative process in neurosis and psychosis. It is argued that within a neurotic structure the process of creation (sublimation) witnesses the acceptance by the subject of the emptiness of the Thing behind the object created, whereas within a psychotic structure visual expression should be considered a symptom, a therapeutic phenomenon. Insight is gained into the specific way in which linguistic mechanisms enter visualisation through the case of Friedrich Schröder-Sonnenstern, a German psychotic outsider.

Sublimation in Lacan: The Creative Destruction of the Subject

We will try to demonstrate that the experience of Abbot Suger de Saint-Denis, creator of Gothic architecture, based on the logic of Lacanian sublimation, comes from the elevation of an object to the dignity of the Thing (Lacan, 1986 [1959-1960]: 133). On the one hand, this experience is a misguided elevation: Suger arrives (Lat. “surgit”) at the truth via material things, but also Suger (Lat. “surgit”), in architectural terms, ascends as the subject of desire. On the other hand, this experience illustrates the dichotomous relation between elevation/descent and creation/destruction in the sublimation that we call “sujerienne”. The architecture of Abbot Suger innovates and this singular experience allows us to address the choséité (thingness) of the architectural object: the void. It also allows us to relate the elevation of sublimation to elevation in architecture. And this highlights the correspondence between elevation of sublimation and the development of the imaginary representation of the Thing. This development cannot take place without an act of creative destruction of the Subject.


Download full text