The famous split between mind and body as memorialized by the philosopher Rene Descartes in his dictum, “I think, therefore I am” (therefore my body is not me), three hundred years later still, unfortunately, rules. So when I come across an artist who heals the split by honoring the body, I am thrilled.
Heather Hansen shapes abstract art with the formal and dynamic symmetries of her own body.
The first of Heather’s favorite videos, also on youtube, features the work of Angelo Musco, an artist who also utilizes the body, in his case, the bodies of many many people at once; he calls this video “Unconscious Memories.”
Ever since 1973, when I came across Georg Groddeck’s astonishing The Book of the It, I have considered the body and the unconscious to be one and the same. Thus, whenever I feel a symptom (in the body), I recognize it as a symbol (from the unconscious) that is surfacing and asking to be accepted, understood and released.
Here is Amazon’s description of Groddeck’s book:
The Book Of The It (1923) is a key text in the history of psychoanalytical thought and the investigation of human sexual compulsion. Georg Groddeck posits the “It” as the unconscious force that drives human behavior and underpins its poles of attraction and revulsion, standing as the root source of physical disease. It was this notion that Freud would modify into his concept of the Id, a primal calculus of sex and violence.
Georg Groddeck was an advocate of self-healing, believing that recognizing the “It” was the first step necessary to understanding human illness. He defines a zone of blood, bodily excretion, mutilation, nightmare and psychosexual dysfunction to reveal the most hidden recesses of the human psyche.