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Marks, L. (2020). Driven to re-member: André Green’s use of the negative in the work of Berlinde de Bruyckere. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 101(3):479-495.

(2020). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 101(3):479-495

Driven to re-member: André Green’s use of the negative in the work of Berlinde de Bruyckere

Lesley Marks

This study examines André Green’s use of the negative and employs it to interpret works of art that provide a visual representation of absence and loss. Green identified the negative in all of Freud’s basic assumptions and developed his work of the negative from an erudite reading of Freudian theory. By filling in what he identified as gaps in Freud’s work, Green produced a contemporary psychoanalysis that yields new discoveries on each reading. His work on the negative describes a dialectics of absence and presence in the human condition and highlights the human endeavour to cope with loss/lack. The concept of the negative is applied to works by the contemporary sculptor, Berlinde de Bruyckere. This artist demonstrates a profound knowledge of art history and religion, as well as an intimate relationship to the human and equine bodies in her sculpture. Studying her work, like reading Green, is a dense and multi-layered experience. Both artist and psychoanalyst offer the body as a site of feeling and meaning-creation. In both, absence and loss are protagonists that lead either to an endlessly repeated cycle of suffering and pain or to the risk of an encounter that promises renewal and change.

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