“And talking about the self, maybe my endless fight against categorization is merely the result of what I saw when I, for the first time, recognized my own image in the mirror. As Jacques-Marie-Émile Lacan puts it: alienation!

If that is the starting point of any human ego, as Lacan suggests, it sheds light on my childish attempt of avoiding all categorization.

to be an artist is sometimes to be identified as mythical. To be an artist is to be in a position with a long tradition of defined identification and I find it hard to believe that any student entering an academy can create1 without in one way or another relating to the conception of the artist, be that acceptance, rejection or otherwise. For many days I cried in my studio. I stayed alone, not eating or sleeping, and I desired nothing but to become exactly that: the artist. Unfortunately every time I looked in the mirror I could not see myself as such since in my eyes the artist was, still, a painter. A male painter.

Why am I still looking for the reflection I cannot find? The mythical identification of the artist has, indeed, changed over time. From the God-given special gift, which could transform the canvas to a sublime artwork only through the artist’s hand to another kind of holiness transforming paint into holy liquid. Nevertheless, I see him very clearly: alone in his studio from which his female model just left, and he almost mistakes the action of painting with the action of fucking (or is it masturbating?). And he looks happy –even if painting is a real struggle- and it all makes sense (both to him now, and later on to a specific buyer and the art market in general). Well, today’s myth is told a little differently, even if the echo of the old one is still heard very clearly. This is also a central issue in the work of Paul McCarthy, as expressed in his video “Painter”, in which he “(…) seeks to undermine the idea of ‘the myth of artistic

Lacan. For several reasons – most of them clearly unconscious- I try hard to avoid his name, but I nevertheless end up referring to him. I try to avoid his gaze but keep feeling seen –even when, with much effort, I turn myself into a painting.

A popular way of talking about the motivation for an artist to work is to say that the artist wants to be seen.

Confronted with a painting the I -who now is the viewer- gains peace from the gaze: “He [the painter] gives something for the eye to feed on, but he invites the person to whom this picture is presented to lay down his gaze there as one lays down one’s weapons. This is the pacifying, Apollonian effect of painting. Something is given not so much to the gaze as to the eye, something that involves the abandonment, the laying down, of the gaze.” (Lacan 1981:101). Here it is specifically painting that Lacan talks about but the question of the relationship between other art forms and the gaze is left untouched. Nevertheless, I find the statement interesting and wonder what will happen once a painter is to paint an image I have chosen.” – stine ofelia. What I look at is never what I wish to see http://ift.tt/1iRAtqK


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