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Abella, A. (2012). On: Response to Moran Shoham. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 93(2):443-444.

(2012). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 93(2):443-444

Letter to the Editors

On: Response to Moran Shoham

Adela Abella

Dear Editors,

I am grateful to Moran Shoham for her careful reading of my paper and her perceptive comments. They allow me to clarify the point of view I took in my paper. Moran Shoham is right to call our attention to the deep gap between “the artist's comments … (and) the meaning of his work”, between an artist's “conscious intent and the end product” (2010, p. 1526-7). A work of art often oversteps its author's aims. Incidentally, this also happens to an analyst's interpretation.

This gap has been recognized of old by a number of artists. Thus, for Duchamp, the artist's role is only that of a “medium” who is denied “the state of consciousness on the aesthetic plane about what he is doing or why he is doing it”. This is the reason why Duchamp attributes to the spectator the important role of “deciphering and interpreting” the artistic proposition, a role in which the audience's contribution has “as much importance that the one who makes it” (Duchamp, 1975, quoted in Abella, 2007). The problem is how to tackle this often profound gap between the artist's conscious intentions and his actual productions.

Traditionally there are two main paradigms which allow a psychoanalytical approach to art and culture. Both of them closely follow the avenues opened by Freud a hundred years ago: we might call them the Leonardo and Gradiva paradigms. The first of these aims to link the work of culture to the supposed unconscious conflicts of its author.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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