Resisting Representation: Agnes Martin

By on March 4, 2019
Image: "Summer", Agnes Martin, 1964. Copyright the artist.

“Resisting Representation: A Psychoanalytic Consideration of Form and Formlessness in the Work of Agnes Martin”

Afternoon talk with Dr Lois Oppenheim

Writing about visual art from a psychoanalytic perspective has long entailed consideration of the artwork as a re-presentation of a reality outside itself. It has also sought to put the artist on the couch in search of a pathological narrative and aimed to show as a quasi-antithetical, but nonetheless primary objective of art the reparation of early object relations. On the basis of the work of Agnes Martin, it will be suggested in this presentation that psychoanalytic writing is “subject to the same laws and processes as the psychoanalytic situation itself” (as John Forrester has said), and that such writing about art must emanate, therefore, from a very different point of departure. What that might be will support an inquiry into why such writing is of interest, why it matters in the first place.

Dr Lois Oppenheim is University Distinguished Scholar, Professor of French, and Chair of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at Montclair State University. She is also Scholar Associate Member of the New York Psychoanalytic Society and Institute and Honorary Member of the William Alanson White Society. Dr. Oppenheim has authored or edited fourteen books, the most recent being For Want of Ambiguity: Order and Chaos in Art, Psychoanalysis, and Neuroscience (Bloomsbury, 2019 and co-authored with Dr. Ludovica Lumer) and Imagination from Fantasy to Delusion (Routledge, 2013), awarded the Courage to Dream Prize from the American Psychoanalytic Association. Other recent books include Psychoanalysis and the Artistic Endeavor; A Curious Intimacy: Art and Neuro-Psychoanalysis; and The Painted Word: Samuel Beckett’s Dialogue With Art. In addition, Dr. Oppenheim has published over 100 book chapters and articles and is the co-creator of two documentary films.

Resisting Representation: Agnes Martin will be held at Freud Museum London on Sunday 10th March 2019.

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