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ARAS Connections
Image and Archetype
• 2012 • Issue 1 •
In This Issue

Welcome by Tom Singer

Dwelling Imaginally in Soulless Times, An Appreciation of the Work of James Hillman by Sylvester Wojtkowski, PhD

Niki de Saint Phalle: a Psychological Approach to Her Artwork and the Symbolic Significance of the Tarot Garden by Paul Brutsche

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This edition of ARAS Connections is blessed by two exceptional papers, authored by two Jungian analysts who are both passionate and eloquent about their subjects. Sylvester Wojtkowski is unabashed in the expression of his indebtedness to the life and work of James Hillman. His paper is an "Appreciation" and it is much more as well. It helps those of you who were not as profoundly influenced by Hillman as Wojtkowski not only "to appreciate" Hillman's life's work but also to understand more clearly in retrospect the deeply coherent themes underlying his prodigious oeuvre.
Hillman spent a lifetime pointing to the primacy of image in soul, psychology, spirit and imagination. In that sense, ARAS should recognize Hillman as one of our honorary "patron saints" as all of our efforts for the past seventy-five years have been focused on image as a source of energy, inspiration, soul and meaning from the beginning of humankind to the present. For Hillman, image is our psychology.
The second paper is equally thrilling in its exploration of the life and art of Niki de Saint Phalle by Paul Brutsche. There are many Jungian analysts who have trained in Zurich and whenever one mentions to them the relationship between Analytical Psychology and art, Paul Brutsche's name emerges as the unofficial "Dean" of that inquiry. One quickly sees how he has earned that honor in this seminal paper on Niki de Saint Phalle, a most unconventional artist of the mid to late 20th century. She is best known for her Tarot Garden of outdoor sculpture in Tuscany.
Brutsche is deft, subtle, and insightful in his psychological exploration of her life and art. In fact, his paper is a work of art. I couldn't help but see Brutsche's paper as a perfect complement to Wotjkowski's. If for Hillman, image is primary in psychology, for Brutsche the psychology of image comes to the forefront in his study. He never reduces image or art to psychology, but he allows psychology to open up the understanding of image. These two articles make a terrific pair and are of such high quality that they make all of us at ARAS Connections proud to publish them.
Tom Singer, M.D.
Co-Chair of ARAS Online for National ARAS

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Dwelling Imaginally in Soulless Times, An Appreciation of the Work of James Hillman
by Sylvester Wojtkowski, PhD,  Introduction by Ami Ronnberg

James Hillman

By seeing through the lens of imagination, Hillman showed us how images come to life, how they begin to move us, change us – reverberate as archetypal foundations of our soul's existence. Throughout his life, images inspired Hillman, and he, in turn inspired us to understand the crucial role they play in creating experience and memory. In his article "Dwelling Imaginally in Soulless Times: An Appreciation of the Work of James Hillman", Sylvester Wojtkowski gives a tribute to Hillman's soulful dedication to image and archetype.
- Ami Ronnberg, Curator of ARAS New York

"…put it my way, what we are really, and the reality we live, is our psychic reality, which is nothing but…the poetic imagination going on day and night."

James Hillman, We've Had a Hundred Years of Psychotherapy and the World Is Getting Worse, p. 62


Lovers and madmen have such seething brains,
Such shaping fantasies that apprehend,
More than cool reason ever comprehends.
The lunatic, the lover and the poet
Are of imagination all compact:
One sees more devils than vast hell can hold,
That is, the madman: the lover, all as frantic,
Sees Helen's beauty in brow of Egypt:
The poet's eye in a fine frenzy rolling,
Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven;
And as imagination bodies forth
The forms of things unknown, the poet's pen
Turns them into shapes, and gives the airy nothing
A local habitation and a name.

William Shakespeare, Midsummer Night's Dream, Theseus speaking in the Act V, Scene 1, verses 4-17

With the departure of James Hillman we have lost the physical presence of the most poetic of psychologists, a lover of the imagination, both an iconophile and an iconoclast, an ebullient lunar thinker who with martial zest gave many invisibles of the soul a local habitation and a name in our rational, destitute times. While nothing will replace his living presence--a loss we grieve deeply--the imaginal Hillman will accompany us as long as with "quiet attention and emotional participation" we polish words of his opus. As he moves, slowly (festina lente, to hurry slowly, was his favorite Renaissance speed), into the realm of the ancestors, I hope (one of the words that he despised the most, as too Christian and too optimistic) that he will forgive me (his thoughts on betrayal notwithstanding), for evoking him as an authorial spirit. (An "author," as a designation, was too egoic for him; he believed that what we speak is soul’s self-expression.) Yet I wish for him as a guide in my attempt to give a modest appraisal of his ideas.
When I first discovered Hillman's writings, in the initial year of my psychological training (not through academic teaching, but guided by library angels at the NYU Library), his psycho-poetic imagination blew my mind and re-opened my appreciation of Jung. Given the revolutionary impact his ideas had on me, ideas that formed me as a psychologist and Jungian analyst, I lack the critical distance to offer a balanced overview of his work. I imagine that James would not mind, as he loved extremes and biases of all kinds. So what follows will be an appreciation of some of his ideas and images that I have found profoundly inspirational for psychological, cultural and political understanding of life, and nourishing for my soul. Here I will stay close to his images, both to preserve some of his poetic thoughts and to be true to the basic tenet of archetypal psychology (as he called his approach)—Stick to the image.
Read Dwelling Imaginally in Soulless Times, An Appreciation of the Work of James Hillman in its entirety.

Read Permeability by James Hillman and Margot McLean which was previously published in ARAS Connections Issue #4 of 2009.

Niki de Saint Phalle: a Psychological Approach to Her Artwork and the Symbolic Significance of the Tarot Garden
by Paul Brutsche, Introduction by Mary Wells Barron

Black Venus by Niki de Saint Phalle

Through Paul Brutsche’s eye we are afforded a glimpse into the depths of Niki de Saint Phalle’s life affirming journey that literally required her to withdraw into the womb of the earth in order to give birth to life and art.
With an eye exquisitely attuned to detail and an intellect grounded in feminine matter, Paul Brutsche offers us moving and startling insights into the imagination of Niki de Saint Phalle. Life and art inform and form each other in a chronological yet timeless journey through them.
We move from biography to what he calls the “freeing destruction” of the “shot pictures” to the rotund, playful, earthly “Nanas” to her magnum opus, the Tarot Garden in the Tuscany countryside. This sculpture garden of the Tarot’s Major Arcana recalls the grotesques of such Italian baroque gardens but is a wholly new image of the Tarot’s mythic patterns of human existence which transcend culture and consciousness.
Paul Brutsche, Dr.phil., is a senior training analyst renowned for his seminars in picture interpretation. He served for many years as President of the C.G. Jung Institut-Zürich, the city in which he maintains a private practice and continues to teach and offer public lectures.
- Mary Wells Barron


Niki de Saint Phalle died in 2002 in San Diego. She was already a famous artist during her lifetime, and since her death she continues to be a presence in the media and in her big and colorful sculptures. She has left behind her, important work, which seems easy of access and yet at the same time is enigmatic and unusual in its style and therefore difficult to understand. This paper tries to contribute to an understanding of her work through symbolical interpretation along Jungian lines. This psychological approach is not meant to give a reductive explanation of Niki de Saint Phalle’s personality, but on the contrary, to open an additional perspective and to honor her creative effort by discovering a symbolical depth beyond and in addition to the aesthetic and artistic value of her work.
I will first introduce Niki de Saint Phalle with a biographical overview of her life. Then we will take a look at several aspects of her creative work: first, her critical examination of the conventions and the spirit of the patriarchy, and secondly, a later phase in which she created her well known “Nana Figures,” in which she found her own corresponding feminine self. The second half of the paper will focus on the Tarot Garden she created in Tuscany and on a closer examination of a few of the Tarot sculptures themselves.
Niki de Saint Phalle was born Catherine Marie-Agnès Fal de Saint Phalle in 1930 in France, the second of five children. She was born into a very wealthy, noble family. Her father was a banker; her mother came from a rich American family, which normally spent summers in the family’s castle in France. However, her father lost all his money in the stock market crash of 1929. Therefore Niki did not live with her parents during her first three years, but with her paternal grandparents in France. Thus she was from early on confronted with different life styles-- American and French. This family background would later make it difficult for her to feel really well rooted either in Europe or in the United States. On the other hand, it helped her to be in natural contact with the avant-garde on both sides of the Atlantic.
When she was seven years old, the family Saint Phalle moved to New York. Marie-Agnès, now called Niki, started school at the Convent of Sacred Heart. Throughout her youth she continually questioned authority and was sent to a succession of schools. She was dismissed from one of them, Brearly, for painting the fig leaves red on the school’s statuary. At age eleven she became the victim of sexual abuse by her father. Only many years later, as an adult and already well-known artist, was she able to deal with this. For many years she worked as a fashion model for “Vogue”, “Elle”, “Life” and other magazines. She was a very attractive woman with an exceptional appearance who inherited from her mother feminine charm and perfect manners, but also battled all her life long against her mother’s conventional rigidity and traditional ideas concerning women.
At eighteen, she eloped with her lover and moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts. She began to paint, experimenting with different media and styles while her husband studied music. A first child was born. Then the young family moved to Paris, where Niki studied theatre and acting. In 1953 she was hospitalized in Nice with a nervous breakdown, and painted while recuperating from this crisis. She re-evaluated the direction of her life and began to seriously consider communicating through her art. This was the first of a long series of such crises. The family moved to Spain, where a second child was born. In Barcelona, she discovered the work of Antonio Gaudi. She was deeply affected by this experience, which opened many possibilities of the use of diverse material and object-trouvés as structural elements in sculpture and architecture. In particular, Gaudi’s “Parc Guell” was a special revelation that made her determined to one day create her own garden combining art and nature. She was to realize this project later with her main work, the Tarot-Garden in Capalbio, Tuscany. At age 30 she made a difficult decision: she separated from her husband and left him with the two children in order to set up a studio and to concentrate solely on her work. She began to work with Jean Tinguely, the famous Swiss artist, whom she had known five years earlier. Later she married him and he became her most important companion and promoter of her work.
Read the entire paper.

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