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Zindel, B. (2013). Notes from the Creative Literary Editor. Psychoanal. Perspect., 10(2):388-389.
Creative LiteraryFrom Image to Words: One Unconscious Speaks to Another
Notes from the Creative Literary Editor
Bonnie Zindel, LCSW
From Image to Words: One Unconscious Speaks to Another
With this issue, Psychoanalytic Perspectives celebrates its 10th year of publication. And so does the Creative Literary section, which pioneered the publication of creative expression as an essential part of psychoanalysis.
In this issue, seven psychoanalysts were invited to respond to a range of surrealist paintings, bypassing the rational mind and putting words where there were none through creative imagination.
Thirty surreal paintings and drawings—including works by Picasso, Dalí, Man Ray, Breton, Magritte, and Max Ernst—were sent to each contributor. They were asked to select an image that provoked an unconscious response and put that response into words: from one sensory modality to another, one unconscious speaking to another.
Influenced by Freud, the Surrealists seized the elusive unconscious. Their works often contained elements of surprise, unexpected fun, and disturbing juxtapositions. They disdained literal meanings, but rather looked for undertones, very much like psychoanalysts.
During the 1920s, when Surrealism flourished, a sign hung on André Breton's bedroom door while he was sleeping: do not disturb, artist at work. The young poet saw Surrealism as a revolutionary movement that would liberate the imagination and eliminate the effect of reason.
As for Dalí, in his studio in Cadaqués, he would sit holding a paintbrush dangling over a metal pail. The instant he'd fall asleep, the brush would clatter into the pail and awaken him from his dreamlike state.
[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.]