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De Castro, A.R. Kirshner, L. (2000). Art, Affect and Aesthetics. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 81(1):162-163.

(2000). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 81(1):162-163

Art, Affect and Aesthetics

Alvaro Rey De Castro and Lewis Kirshner

In this unusual panel event, the artist and psychoanalyst, Desy Safán-Gerard, made a dual presentation consisting of a kind of aesthetic autobiography of the evolution of her own work, shown by photographic slides, accompanied by a broader theory of artistic creation. A native of Chile, Safán-Gerard returned to her homeland with a moving account of her psychic struggles with separation and loss that she expressed through her paintings, as she has come to interpret them through a theoretical framework owing much to Klein and Bion. The result was a complex amalgam of (mostly non-representational) images, self-revelation and highly abstract formulations of the conditions of creativity. The two discussants, Alain Gibeault and Gilbert Rose, picked up the theme of the psychic processes implicit in the creation of works of art, while distancing themselves from any attempt to interpret their specific psychological meanings. Safán-Gerard then replied to these remarks with a prepared text.

Safán-Gerard stressed mainly the destructiveness inherent in creativity and the reparative efforts associated with it. Attributing the earliest psychoanalytic appreciation of the importance of destructive wishes in the creative process to Sabina Spielrein's paper ‘Destruction as the cause of coming into being’ (1912; ‘Die Destruktion als Ursache des Werdens’. Jahrbuch fürpsychoanalytische undpsychopathologische Forschungen, 4: 465-503), she elaborated on two types of destructiveness.

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