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Isserow, J. (2014). ‘Making Space: Psychoanalysis and Artistic Process’ Saturday 25th February 2012 UCL, Cruciform Lecture Theatre 1, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT. Free Associations, 15(1):127-130.

(2014). Free Associations, 15(1):127-130


‘Making Space: Psychoanalysis and Artistic Process’ Saturday 25th February 2012 UCL, Cruciform Lecture Theatre 1, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT

Review by:
Jonathan Isserow

The ‘Making Space - psychoanalysis and artistic process’ conference provided an opportunity to open up, illuminate and rigorously explore the relationship between unconscious processes and artistic production.1 Since its inception, psychoanalysis has claimed privileged access to the unconscious and, along with this, has made certain knowledge claims regarding art and creativity. By bringing the field of psychoanalysis together with an exploration of ‘artistic process’ the conference opened up the chance to explore the intersections between the two and investigate the often seemingly mercurial nature of ‘creativity’.

The intention of the conference was to place contemporary artists in conversation with psychoanalysts. By doing so, the event, organised by Patricia Townsend, was no doubt ambitious but also highly valuable in that it provided an opportunity to place both psychoanalysis and art ‘on the couch’. so to speak, further interrogating the dynamic relationship between unconscious process and artistic production. With the event attracting such a large audience, diverse in nature, there is undoubtedly widespread interest in exploring this topic from a range of vantage points. The event did not fail to deliver. It provided a deeply interesting day for artists, analysts and the wider audience. At times it offered a mesmerising spectacle comprised of the slick performance of Grayson Perry, the erudite presentation by Sharon Kivland and the cringe-inducing, yet highly endearing, show by Martin Creed.

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