نوع مقاله : مقاله پژوهشی
1 استادیارگروه نقاشی، دانشکده هنر، دانشگاه الزهرا، تهران، ایران، نویسنده مسئول
2 کارشناسی ارشد نقاشی، دانشکدۀ هنر، دانشگاه الزهرا، تهران، ایران.
عنوان مقاله [English]
There exist various intentions and goals behind the creation experience of a work of art. And of the most important among them is utilization of the artistic instinct to express emotions to the audience through the sublime. This capability which is inherent in art and the creation process has always been a source of inspiration for Sigmund Freud, the prominent Austrian psychoanalyst in the 20th century. Sigmund Freud’s theories on human psyche and its mechanisms have been an important source for the psychological and artistic studies to this day. According to Freud’s studies, it is not just the forefront and obvious part of the human psyche that directs the manifestation of behavior, but that there lies a hidden depth beyond the obvious, not easily accessible, that is also the source. Understanding this hidden depth is not only important, but also according to him, most of the human expressions stem from this part. He also believes that the creation process of a work of art is a manifestation of this hidden depth, which he calls the unconscious. He believed that there are similarities between established processes of psychological treatments to understand and access the unconscious, such as free association, slip of the tongue, or hypnotism, and the particulars of a work of art; according to him art was a window to the artist’s psyche and unconscious.
Freud’s studies on the unconscious, lead him to theories about the essence and origin of instincts, their place in human psyche, and their role in the manifestation of expressions and behavior. According to Sigmund Freud's theory of instincts, all human behaviors originate from the confrontation and conflict between two fundamental instincts, Eros and Thanatos; Eros as the symbol of life and creation, and Thanatos as the symbol of death and destruction. Since he believed that this conflict exists in the unconscious, the unconscious can be considered the arena for this eternal battle between creation and destruction, Eros and Thanatos.
In the present study, first Freud’s established pattern of the psyche is introduced; since understanding this pattern is fundamental to the understanding of his other theories. Then his theories of parapsychology are discussed, including his views on the psychic energy, the interaction between internal forces in human psyche, the origin of pleasure and deferred gratification, and the function of instincts, in order to establish a study frame, to offer new perspectives on the Scottish contemporary artist Ken Currie's paintings, and his interpretation of man in different periods of his career. The focal point of this study is the evolution of this artist’s interpretation of man, and man in relation to the external world. How is the conflict between instincts manifests in Currie’s works? What aspects of human existence are expressed?
This study implements the descriptive-analytical method, using library and online sources. No previous study has been conducted on Ken Currie’s works in Farsi resources, even though his interpretation of man and man’s interaction with his environment is quite noteworthy and significant, so a better introduction and comprehension of his works is a necessity. The hypothesis is that the artist in order to criticize the humanity that has gone through two consecutive and devastating world wars, is inclined to reflect a world deprived of value and credibility, a world filled with discrimination, that despite reaching the heights of civilization and achievements is drowned in despair and destitution. The goal is to discuss the manifestations of conflict between instincts in Ken Currie’s works, mostly depicted as a dual opposition of creation-destruction, birth-death, and civilization-barbarism.
Currie has been raised in the industrial environment of Glasgow, Scotland, which has greatly influenced his standpoint on the relation between man and his surroundings. This influence is specifically significant in Currie’s earlier works. The atmosphere of his works in earlier years is chaotic and crowded, but as he evolved, the chaos turned into silence, with works mostly depicting solitary figures with a vast and dark background. Despite these obvious imagery differences, there exists a very significant similarity among his creations, and that is his detailed attention to man’s desperation and suffering. His attention to the individuality has resulted in a very detailed depiction of the physical aspects, since physicality is specific and defines the individual in relation to the surrounding. In this regard his later works mostly focus on physical wounds as metaphorical manifestation of human suffering. Suffering is projected through ailments, death, and disability. His implication of the physical suffering to project psychological sufferings has gone so far so that a metamorphosis is manifested and in accordance an absolute physicality. In this sense we witness a transformation from a man with purpose, identity, and certainty – which define his values and credibility – to a man void of any value and purpose, manifested simultaneously in one work of art.
In Ken Currie’s works, man is caught in the middle of an endless conflict between two opposing instincts. Man is filled with ambiguity, duality, and hesitation, which can be interpreted as a manifesto against warmongering and politics of the powers that be, discrimination, and inequality that instill a sense of impotence in the collective consciousness of humanity. This sense of impotence implies the broader concept of psychological and physical suffering. Regardless, it is necessary to note that in these works no fine line is depicted between destroying and being destroyed, since the existence of man in these works is depicted as an arena for the battle between life and death, in the form of a dynamic interaction and confrontation, which inevitably results in the dominance of the instinct of death and destruction, so that artist can voice his concerns about the place of man in relation to the world. But it is also important to note that life and all its implications are never absolutely absent in his works.
In Currie’s works man is never the wise existent with agency, on the contrary, the artist depicts the instances in which man is void of both as a reflection of the dominance of Thanatos, which not only has a significant role in man’s internal musings but also reflects its influence on the external world. In the general sense, Ken Currie’s works depict the man in confrontation with his inabilities, who is destroyed and created in accordance with those inabilities. Currie brings forth the various factors that confront man with suffering and raise a voice to question the internal and external factors that are the cause of man’s desperation and despair.