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ARAS Connections
Image and Archetype
• 2012 • Issue 2 •
In This Issue

Welcome by Tom Singer

Breaking of the Vessels: Destruction and Creation in the Art of Anselm Kiefer by Mary Wells Barron

Pictorial Space throughout Art History: Cézanne and Hofmann by Maxson J. McDowell

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Every organization needs to continuously adapt to change and to evolve. ARAS Online is no exception and, after close to ten years of being "online", we are now going through an exciting growth spurt. We have begun to innovate not only with new content on the site and in our newsletter, we are also now embarking on a redesign of both the front and back ends of our online site. The front end is what you see on your computer screen; the back end is what makes what you see work.
The process of change often needs help from outside the organization by bringing in fresh ideas and a re-articulation of vision. Recently, ARAS Online has been very fortunate in the extraordinary donation of time and energy from one of the major design Institutes in the world. Beginning in January, 2012, David Walczyk who both teaches Information Architecture and Interaction Design at Pratt Institute and is a candidate at the C.G. Jung Institute of New York, led a semester-long class of 21 students in an evaluation of the ARAS Online site for the purposes of contributing to a major redesign. The students were divided into four groups, each of which came up with recommendations to ARAS Online for ways in which to improve the site. The four separate plans were presented to ARAS in a live presentation and computerized documentation of each of the proposals. Every phase of this study was done with the greatest aesthetic sensitivity, informed consideration of the mission of ARAS and its potential audience, and knowledge of contemporary computer technology and design. ARAS received the boon of four, separate proposals--all of which provide exciting ideas for improvement in our site. The ideas center on how to make ARAS a better and easier site to use and to include broader and more diverse tools for searching, displaying, sharing and saving symbolic imagery and the accompanying commentary.
We are now undertaking the process of implementing many of these ideas in a redesign of our site's architecture, which will include the capability in the future to add new features without having to redesign the entire site. Responsibility for implementing the new technology will be in the hands of our new technology guru, John Kyle who runs his own IT/Web consulting company in Sacramento, California. He replaces Jeff Levinsky who guided ARAS Online through its creation and first decade of operations with tremendous skill, integrity, and grace.
Of course, a site is only as good as what it has to offer. And that is where our second round of thanks comes in. In responding to change, organizations need good Boards who provide a variety of skills: administrative, financial, organizational, visionary, and not least of which, an intimate knowledge of what the organization most cares about. In that regard, this issue of ARAS Online demonstrates that our Board Members know and care deeply about images, their meaning, and their place in cultural and archetypal context. Max McDowell, a former Board Member of National ARAS, presents an in-depth study of what gives great works of art a quality of "monumentality" that we sometimes experience with what Rudolph Otto described as the "numen" in his classic book, The Idea of the Holy. And another, current Board Member, Mary Wells Barron, also picks up on the theme of "monumental" in her exquisite study of Anselm Kiefer's "Breaking of the Vessels".
This edition of ARAS Connections is a good demonstration of how solid organizations are best able to grow and change--through the dedication of all sorts of individuals with diverse skills who care about the living symbol.
Tom Singer, M.D.
Co-Chair of ARAS Online for National ARAS

Calendar of ARAS-Related Events

Art and Psyche in the City
Conference in New York City

July 19-22, 2012
Please join us for a multinational conference exploring the interface of the arts, psychology and city life that is co-sponsored by ARAS. Plenaries, workshops and breakouts will feature presentations by painters, musicians, poets, actors, photographers, psychotherapists, analysts and expressive arts therapists. Ten minute sparks of images and ideas will flash throughout the conference.
The Thursday night public program features the award-winning poet Mark Doty on Walt Whitman, Donald Sosin on his score for the film Manhatta and a panel with composer Jorge Martin and photographer Deborah O’Grady.
ARAS will offer an open house to participants on Thursday, July 19th from 5:00 - 6:30 pm at 28 East 39th Street, Floor 3, New York, NY.
Click here for more information and to register for the conference.

In Los Angeles:
August 3, 2012:  Engaging the Archetypal Imagination: Poetry and the Unconscious Presented by Shari Lee, L.M.F.T., and Dana Levin

In Greece:
September 6-8, 2012:  Ancient Greece, Modern Psyche Conference

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Breaking of the Vessels: Destruction and Creation in the Art of Anselm Kiefer
by Mary Wells Barron,  Introduction by Diane Fremont

Breaking of the Vessels

It is a great pleasure to introduce the work of Mary Wells Barron, creator and co-editor of the ARAS Library on Art. In this powerful paper, Mary leads us into an intimate encounter with Anselm Kiefer's immense and transfixing sculpture, "The Breaking of the Vessels". Mary gives a deep psychological exploration of the work without violating her own guiding principle for the Library, following Helen Luke, not to "kill the poetry" of the work of art itself. She conducts us through the perilous territory of Kiefer's dense and complicated imagery and allusions - historical, mythological and alchemical - while conveying the indescribably visceral impact of the piece.
On first reading an earlier version of this article, without illustrations, I was struck by how powerfully it evoked both an image of the work in my mind's eye as well as an emotional experience through Mary's vivid description of her own immediate, bodily response to the work. It is the beauty of this online "room" that the present article can be so vividly illustrated and deepened by images of Kiefer's work itself as well as related and comparative images from art history.
This article is a testament to the way Kiefer's art goes beyond the visual to a stark inner landscape of suffering and creation, with which many of us are uncomfortably familiar but don’t often find so powerfully represented in art.
Mary Wells Barron is a Jungian analyst in private practice in St. Louis, Missouri.
- Diane Fremont, Jungian Analyst and ARAS Board Member

When will you learn, myself, to be
A dying leaf on a living tree?


(Edna St. Vincent Millay)

Behind all of Anselm Kiefer's art sounds the leitmotiv of destruction and creation, both personal and collective. My first experience of his art was physical. I walked into the largest room of the St. Louis Art Museum shortly after my return from almost six years in Zurich. I was seeking familiar and beloved images to help contain my re-entry anxiety. What I found was anything but familiar. I encountered this monumental sculpture that filled the wall between the two west doorways, rose almost to the ceiling, was made of metal, and seemed to pour out shattered glass that lay strewn on the floor in front of me.
I was stopped in my tracks in much the same way one might be who suddenly came upon a beautiful and dangerous animal. Frozen to the spot, stunned by what had seized me, I had no idea what stood before me. But my body said what my soul seemed to know, for a single tear ran down my cheek. It came from my right eye, the eye in which I have been blind since birth. Then there was only silence. By some fate, I was totally alone for the next twenty minutes. No visitors, no guards walked past. As I began to emerge from my encounter with this "terrible beauty," it felt as if I might spend a good part of my life exploring its mystery. "…The symbols of the Self," Jung wrote, "arise in the depths of the body and they express its materiality as much as the structure of the perceiving consciousness. The symbol is thus a living body, corpus et anima" (CW91, par, 291).
Read Breaking of the Vessels:Destruction and Creation in the Art of Anselm Kiefer in its entirety.

Pictorial Space throughout Art History: Cézanne and Hofmann
How it models Winnicott's interior space and Jung's individuation
by Maxson J. McDowell

Venus of Véstonice. Baked clay, Czechoslovakia. 29,000-25,000 BC.
Photograph: J Jelinek, 'The Evolution of Man'

Since the stone age humankind has created masterworks which possess a mysterious quality of solidity and grandeur or monumentality. Such works now sell for tens of millions of dollars. A paleolithic Venus and a still life by Cézanne both share this monumentality. Michelangelo likened monumentality to sculptural relief:

Painting should be considered excellent in proportion as it approaches the effect of relief |1|.

Braque called monumentality space:

You see, the whole Renaissance tradition is antipathetic to me. The hard and fast rules of perspective which it imposes on art were a ghastly mistake which it has taken four centuries to redress: Cézanne and, after him, Picasso and myself can take a lot of the credit for this. Scientific perspective is nothing but eye-fooling illusionism; it is simply a trick - a bad trick - which makes it impossible for an artist to convey a full experience of space, since it forces the objects in a picture to disappear away from the beholder instead of bringing them within his reach, as a painting should. That's why I have such a liking for primitive art: for very early Greek art, Etruscan art, Negro art. None of this has been deformed by Renaissance science ... Cubism was essentially a reaction against the impressionists ... we were out to attack space which they had neglected |2|.

Hans Hoffman, himself one of the masters, called monumentality pictorial depth:

Inner greatness, pictorially, is determined and limited by the degree to which the pictorial effect of depth, in contrast to the illusion of depth, serves the artist's purpose |3|.

The masters agreed that greatness is determined by monumentality, but none of them left a clear explanation of monumentality. In 1943 Earl Loran, the acknowledged authority on Cézanne's pictorial structure, said:

Complete diagrams explaining Cézanne's formal structure ... have not so far appeared in book form. To my knowledge, nothing has been published that makes space organization in any art completely understandable in diagrammatic terms |4|.

The article you are reading now does provide a clear explanation, (as did an an earlier book by Robert Casper |5|) and it also traces the history of monumentality using reproductions. It further explains how some painters achieved monumentality and how a student can attempt it.
In this essay, I focus on painting and I use the terms pictorial space or plastic structure or plastic form (1) for monumentality. Pictorial space is created in the tension between pairs of opposing planes. Opposing planes pull against each other, each containing the other, paradoxically, within the flat surface of the canvas. (This may sound obscure but you will see it clearly in the diagrams that follow.) Sculpture also can be plastic: opposing masses pull against each other, each containing the other and creating tension in the space which lies between them. Painting has other vital aspects like subject matter, expression, style and technique but pictorial space doesn't depend on these and I don't speak of them. I speak of color only as it used to construct pictorial space.
Monumentality moves us profoundly and apparently has done so since the Paleolith. In the last section, I use patients' vignettes to suggest a reason for this. I show that there are profound parallels between the structure of a monumental work of art and the structure of an evolving personality. In Winnicott's words, such a personality has "depth" |6|, "an interior space to put beliefs in" |7|, "an inside, a space where things can be held" |8|, "the capacity to accept paradox" (to contain opposites) |9|, "both room and strength" |10|, and both "originality and the acceptance of tradition as the basis for invention" |11|.
Because of the profound parallels between monumental art and an evolving personality, I argue, monumental art provides a visual portrait of an evolving personality just as myth, as Freud and Jung both showed, provides a narrative portrait of an evolving personality |12| |13|. An evolving personality is perhaps humankind's most important creation; an underlying purpose of both myth and art is to help us achieve it |14| |15|. I demonstrate here that monumental art must have represented the evolving personality since at least 35,000 BC. Thus to understand monumentality is to better understand the human personality and its history.
Read the entire paper.


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