Browsing by Author "Haapala, Leevi"

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  • Haapala, Leevi (Kuvataiteen keskusarkisto/Valtion taidemuseo, 2011)
    Leevi Haapala explores moving image works, sculptures and installations from a psychoanalytic perspective in his study The Unconscious in Contemporary Art. The Gaze, Voice and Time in Finnish Contemporary Art at the Turn of the Millennium . The artists included in the study are Eija-Liisa Ahtila, Hans-Christian Berg, Markus Copper, Liisa Lounila and Salla Tykkä. The theoretical framework includes different psychoanalytic readings of the concepts of the gaze, voice and temporality. The installations are based on spatiality and temporality, and their detailed reading emphasizes the medium-specific features of the works as well as their fragmentary nature, heterogeneity and affectivity. The study is cross-disciplinary in that it connects perspectives from the visual culture, new art history and theory to the interpretation of contemporary art. The most important concepts from psychoanalysis, affect theory and trauma discourse used in the study include affect, object a (objet petit a) as articulated by Jacques Lacan, Sigmund Freud s uncanny (das Unheimliche) and trauma. Das Unheimliche has been translated as uncanny in art history under the influence of Rosalind Krauss. The object of the study, the unconscious in contemporary art, is approached through these concepts. The study focuses on Lacan s additions to the list of partial drives: the gaze and voice as scopic and invocative drives and their interpretations in the studies of the moving image. The texts by the American film theorist and art historian Kaja Silverman are in crucial role. The study locates contemporary art as part of trauma culture, which has a tendency to define individual and historical experiences through trauma. Some of the art works point towards trauma, which may appear as a theoretic or fictitious construction. The study presents a comprehensive collection of different kinds of trauma discourse in the field of art research through the texts of Hal Foster, Cathy Caruth, Ruth Leys and Shoshana Felman. The study connects trauma theory with the theoretical analysis of the interference and discontinuity of the moving image in the readings by Susan Buck-Morss, Mary Ann Doane and Peter Osborn among others. The analysis emphasizes different ways of seeing and multisensoriality in the reception of contemporary art. With their reflections and inverse projections, the surprising mechanisms of Hans-Christian Berg s sculptures are connected with Lacan s views on the early mirroring and imitation attempts of the individual s body image. Salla Tykkä s film trilogy Cave invites one to contemplate the Lacanian theory of the gaze in relation to the experiences of being seen. The three oceanic sculpture installations by Markus Copper are studied through the vocality they create, often through an aggressive way of acting, as well as from the point of view of the functioning of an invocative drive. The study compares the work of fiction and Freud s texts on paranoia and psychosis to Eija-Liisa Ahtila s manuscripts and moving image installations about the same topic. The cinematic time in Liisa Lounila s time-slice video installations is approached through the theoretical study of the unconscious temporal structure. The viewer of the moving image is inside the work in an in-between state: in a space produced by the contents of the work and its technology. The installations of the moving image enable us to inhabit different kinds of virtual bodies or spaces, which do not correspond with our everyday experiences. Nevertheless, the works of art often try to deconstruct the identification to what has been shown on screen. This way, the viewer s attention can be fixed on his own unconscious experiences in parallel with the work s deconstructed nature as representation. The study shows that contemporary art is a central cultural practice, which allows us to discuss the unconscious in a meaningful way. The study suggests that the agency that is discursively diffuse and consists of several different praxes should be called the unconscious. The emergence of the unconscious can happen in two areas: in contemporary art through different senses and discursive elements, and in the study of contemporary art, which, being a linguistic activity is sensitive to the movements of the unconscious. One of the missions of art research is to build different kinds of articulated constructs and to open an interpretative space for the nature of art as an event.