The Symptom of Art and Art of the Symptom

Cleopatra Gallery – December 17 2014

A “new science for every person” evokes the work I have been doing for 30 years – a psychoanalytic medicine and politics. Freud’s most radical invention was to reverse the politics of doctor and patient by entering the world of the patient as a foreign country and devising cure – or rather transformation – co-creatively. While psychoanalysis has attempted to remain true to this radical unicity, its institutionalization is always threatening.

I not only adhere to this radical practice but I seek to re-envelope the practice of physical medicine within this ethic – as well as extending it to the social-political field. From psychoanalysis to schizoanalysis. Perhaps art is the final language for talking about the intersection of these issues, for it has waged a century of struggle for the absolute sovereignty of subjectivity against a world of increasing materialism and objectification. It only remains to take the playful nature of desire, love, beauty, and intimacy in the most serious way.


In my clinicial and theoretical writing I intend to unlock the uncanny, the real, the impulse, the phantasm locked beneath the symbolic or stereotype. This is much like Klossowski’s idea of working with a traditional field of syntax and altering it slightly rather than a major abstract deconstruction. However when it comes to the visual form – as opposed to writing – I do feel drawn to abstraction. Or perhaps it is better to say the diagrammatic – the indexical gesture rather than iconic or symbolic in Peirce’s semiotic triad. I have always drawn spontaneous diagrams on boards and walls while lecturing, on paper while reading, writing, or practicing analysis with a patient. Bracha Ettinger paints while listening to patients. Winnicott co-created drawings with child patients. Lygia Clark developed artistic analytic play objects for clinical artwork in the gallery.

My lectures and writings become performances as they begin with traditional contexts, settings, and ideas yet jar, disturb, or provoke the participant. I say participant rather than listener or reader, as I am to engage the other in a transference, dialectic, and co-creation. This is an inversion of my work as an analyst in the clinic. In my schizoanalytic events I blur the boundary between clinical, pedagogical, and artistic relationship. I take the position of analysand, make the other my analyst, and free associate – exactly as Lacan described of his seminar. Yet I take it a step further by then encouraging the audience to take the position of analysand back to me and each other as analyst.

While I have sought to bring Art into the Clinic, Laboratory, and Academy, I now seek to bring Analysis into the Studio, Gallery, or Museum.