Van moi tot je : die verband tussen die ontwikkeling van die subjek en die kunsmaakproses

Roux, Susan Elizabeth (2008-03)

Thesis (MA (VA)(Visual Arts))--Stellenbosch University, 2008.


The purpose of this study was to develop an academic approach towards my own work. The main objective was to determine my position as the subject in the art-making process and, in doing so, to find a way in which to discuss my own work more readily. My underlying assumption was that identity is formed through a visual rather than a verbal process. I realised however that language played an important role, especially since the metonymic and metaphoric characteristics of my art flow from language. The study therefore focuses on the forming of identity, on the road to self-identity, but takes this factor into consideration. Lacan’s theory on the mirror phase offered me the opportunity to investigate the inseparable relationship between subjectivity and visuality. His work on the intrinsic interaction between image and language, the conscious and the unconscious, being human as a “lack of being” and the endeavour towards completion in a broken world, culminates in the construction that language originates from the moment at which the conscious makes an appearance at the end of the mirror phase and that the unconscious is structured like a language. For Lacan the subject is not mono-dimensional, but occupies two positions, one in the imaginary, known as the moi, and the other in the symbolic, known as the je. Based on this view, Lacan demonstrates that the symbols artists use should not only be understood as icons, but should be seen as signifiers in which the subject comes to the fore. What I have drawn from the theoretical part of my research is the fact that the composition of factors that determine the meeting of subjects in the viewing process are extremely complex. The core of the gaze is however that the gazing subject always experiences something of itself in the gaze. This insight not only helped me to describe some of the work of my favourite artists better, but to identify myself in my work. The experience of unravelling and restructuring my thoughts in the writing process was most liberating.

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