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News from ARAS
• 2009 • Issue 1 •

With this issue, the ARAS Online Newsletter is beginning the transition to a more contemporary content aimed at stimulating thought and discourse about the complex interplay between art and psyche. For a long time, the primary focus of ARAS and ARAS Online has been the development and preservation of the archive itself. The archive remains at the heart of the three-quarters of a century tradition of ARAS that began in Ascona, Switzerland with the Eranos Lectures in the 1930's.
But, ARAS is also looking to make itself relevant in a rapidly changing world. Both in the new ARAS publication project, The Book of Images: Reflections on Symbols, to be published by Taschen next year, and in the new direction of the ARAS Online Newsletter, the study of symbolic imagery that has been at the heart of ARAS for its long history will extend itself into a more modern arena.
We plan to initiate this broadened focus by publishing many of the presentations from the Art and Psyche Conference that was held in San Francisco in May, 2008. The conference was attended by over two hundred people from all over the United States and many foreign countries. Jointly sponsored by the C.G. Jung Institute of San Francisco and the Art and Psyche Working Group with a generous grant from the Van Waveren Foundation, the conference featured presenters from around the world and from many different disciplines related to the interface of art and psyche. Presenters included art historians, art critics, artists, art therapists and psychoanalysts of both Jungian and Freudian traditions. A fundamental goal of the conference was to begin a dialogue between people of different disciplines bound together by a love of the interface between art and psyche. ARAS Online is proud to begin publishing those presentations with the goal of further developing the dialogue. The first conference papers will begin to appear in the next edition of the ARAS Online Newsletter in the early summer of 2009.
The four principals of the Art and Psyche group who shepherded the conference into being were Simone Campbell-Scott, Ami Ronnberg, Linda Carter and Tom Singer. Patricia Sohl also contributed to the group. Linda Carter, a Jungian analyst from Providence, Rhode Island, and Ami Ronnberg, Curator of National ARAS in New York City, will join me in co-editing the Art and Psyche Conference papers as they appear in ARAS Online. Both Linda and Ami have spent years studying and loving the relationship between art and psyche. Their articles in this edition of the ARAS Online Newsletter are in my mind the best way to introduce the Art and Psyche editing team while at the same time serving, each in its own way, as a demonstration of the many ways of working with images.
Tom Singer, M.D.
Co-Chair of the ARAS Online Committee
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Matisse, Picasso, and Intertwined Psyches

An excerpt from Reflections on Bidirectionality of Influence in the Matisse/Picasso Relationship and in Clinical Practice from a Dynamic Systems Perspective, by Linda Carter, MSN, CS, IAAP

Nasturtiums with 'Dance' II
Matisse, 1912

The Three Dancers
Picasso, 1912

Matisse and Picasso were engaged in a 50 year artistic dialogue, at times in conflict and competition, at others in harmonic synchronous resonance. Their influence on one another was truly bidirectional and has been compared to a multidimensional game of chess with each move rearranging the game challenging the partner to reflect and reconsider his own creative choice. The stunning show of their work side by side was shown in London (2002) sponsored by the Tate; in Paris (2002) sponsored by the Musee Picasso and the Centre Pompidou/Musee National d'Art (2002); and in New York sponsored by the Museum of Modern Art (2003). This carefully curated exhibition shone light on the amplifying effect of their interaction and one is reminded of Tronick's notions of "dyadic expansion of consciousness." They each take in the other, interpret or, as Bloom would have it, in the Anxiety of Influence (1973,1997) misinterpret the other leading to an original vision or voice, thus becoming even more himself in the work. It would be interesting to plot a graph of their artistic moments of meeting in which mutual influence is evident and moments of disengagement when they, in a sense, both look away from one another. The oscillations of this graph would need to be seen against a temporal, cultural background of the larger 20th century milieu from which their work emerged. Always at the creative edge of organization and chaos their visions and ideas changed forever the way that we look at art. Says Bois (2001, p.16), "their dialogue is more than a private one; it is a matrix for most issues pertaining to the history of figurative art." It is through the process of their interactive artistic and personal dialogue that modern art was born.
Read the entire paper.

Birds of Prophecy

An excerpt from Birds of Prophecy: Images from ARAS by Ami Ronnberg, Managing Editor and Curator - ARAS New York

Studies of Wings
Nicolas Vleughels, 1717

In this presentation I want to follow the image of the bird in its flight, reflecting our ability to imagine, our ability to transcend, as it moves so easily between heaven and earth: the bird as the soul or anima, acting as mediator between conscious and unconscious; or the bird as the breath of the world, the world soul hidden in matter. It is also the bird that brings us inspiration, prophecy and truth; the bird that moves between the worlds as in poetry and images. Sometimes it comes as a voice from a spirit bird whispering into the ear of St. Gregory. In a painting by William Blake, called "Hope," an angel touches the mouth of a kneeling writer, perhaps Blake himself. Blake explains: "I have written this poem from immediate Dictation." Or in the words of the Polish poet Czeslaw Milosz: "I am no more than a secretary of the invisible things / that are dictated to me and a few others" (from the poem "Secretaries"). And then there is the Spanish poet, Federico Garcia Lorca, who knew that inspiration also rises from below – from earth itself – from the darkness of the body – as duende or the color of black sound that Lorca would invoke before speaking or writing. He once described how duende, a winged trickster figure, perched on his shoulder as he gave his lectures. He knew that only when duende is present was he moved to the heights of poetic inspiration. He also knew that duende is related to death or to demons – or to Socrates' daimon, our true inner voice. "The daimon becomes the figure of the petition," writes the poet Edward Hirsch in a book on inspiration, called "the demon and the angel." Whether inspiration or temptation – the message from the other world arrives to us on wings.
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ARAS Hint: Learn Much More about Art, Archetypes, and Psyche
The ARAS Online archive includes not only thousands of images and commentaries, but also a growing body of articles, interviews, and an online book that explain how to use the archive and explore archetypal symbolism throughout society.   Whether you're new to the field or want to delve more deeply, we encourage you to utilize this body of research from art historians, analysts, and artists.  All of these materials are available via the ARAS News and Publications and Art and Psyche Publications web pages, which you can also find under the About menu on the website.
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