The article presents the “psychoanalytical playing” method used as part of a project inspired by psychoanalysis set in place by the writer collaborating with the contemporary artist Patrick Corillon, for the purpose of clarifying the process of artistic creation in the artist’s work. This method is based on the Winnicottian view of the psychoanalytical session as play, occurring in the overlap of two potential spaces of playing. While it is a part of the artist’s creative process, “psychoanalytical playing” has certain features in common with conventional psychoanalysis, although it also differs in many other respects. The material provided by this methodological device, along with a study of Patrick Corillon’s work, led the author to advance the hypothesis of a fantasy of immortality operating as the “driving force” of the artist’s creative process, and to detect the traces of an unconscious immortal Ego, as formulated by André Green in his book Life Narcissism Death Narcissism (2001).
Le Benshi d’Angers (The Benshi of Angers, 2011), a performance by the contemporary artist Patrick Corillon, during which the artist tells the story of a fictive daydream, constitutes the starting point of this contribution. The author’s analysis of the work has led him to consider whether Freud’s “Creative Writers and Day-Dreaming” (1908e ), in which he postulates a relation between “phantasy” and literary creation, may clarify the creative process that generated the artist’s work. In answer to this question, the author refines Freud’s hypothesis, for Corillon’s work, by arguing for a relationship between the creation of narrative fiction and sleep fantasy, as conceived by Pierre Fédida. The artist benefits from moments of insomnia in order to transform them into creative moments and during this creative process the “potential space” may engender itself. This hypothesis is consolidated by the study of a second work by Patrick Corillon, La Forêt des Origines (The Wood of the Origins, 2008).
Many psychoanalytic theories address the question of the space of play. Based on Freud, the author first of all tries to show that the originality of psychoanalysis lets us consider the space of play as a scene (Bühne) which opens onto the Other Scene, the unconscious. A structural analogy between play space and tragic scene will be considered. Next the author will study the Winnicottian invention of potential space which allows us to explain the experience of play from a psychogenetic point of view. In this perspective it will be important to locate the area in which play takes place, an area of illusion that Winnicott describes as paradoxical. Finally a third perspective considering how play constitutes its own symbolical space will be considered. The author will propose that play institutes a third space allowing something to be said and at the same time a subjective division.