My psychoanalytic understanding is central to my practice because before becoming an artist I was a psychotherapist. I am interested in the relationship between myself, as the artist, and the observer, and in what takes place in the imagination of both of us. Imaginative ideas and phantasies exist in what is experienced as a real space or room in our minds. The observer is invited into this space in my mind, containing imaginative ideas, when looking at my artwork. This is a reciprocal process, as the observer has to allow his own imaginative room to be entered and refurnished by me. In the case of sculpture, this metaphorical space is more readily understood, as the work exists in real space.
My intention in creating this my recent work Schreber, depicting disoriented space full of disjointed structures, was to reflect the current political turmoil in the wider world. But while making it, I became unwell with a high temperature and delirium, and I became aware of feelings of anxiety and fragility. This experience gave me an insight into delusional states of mind where imagined ideas and phantasies relating to real events are not located in the area of the mind designated for the imagination, but are instead experienced as having actually taken place.
I wanted to prevent the unstable cardboard structure from falling apart through the use of steel rods, bolts and Meccano. I was preoccupied with how the elements in the sculpture were attached to each other and I lost sight of the totality of my sculpture. This reminded me of Freud’s analysis of Schreber who had a psychotic breakdown and then meticulously recorded his delusional ideas. Freud believed that delusional states were the minds attempts at recovery. Schreber’s ideas did have their own internal logic and coherence, but his delusions entailed losing sight of external reality. The assiduously joined elements in my sculpture reflect the logical internal connections in Schreber’s mind, but the totality can be seen as portraying a disoriented and delusional state of mind.
I would like to investigate psychoanalytic and related themes, such as the blurred boundaries that exist in dreams, psychosis and dementia. I would also like to explore the possibility of working collaboratively with other artists, in which we would be both artists and observers in a shared metaphorical space.