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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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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