ON THE BEAUTIFUL AND THE ABJECT: A STUDY OF ARTISTIC CREATIVITY AND MADNESS
Papaioannou, Evangelia Lilly
ON THE BEAUTIFUL AND THE ABJECT:A STUDY OF ARTISTIC CREATIVITY AND MADNESSEvangelia L. Papaioannou, Ph.D.Mentor: Martin Irvine, Ph.D.ABSTRACTThe rise of abject art in recent decades has created muchpublic controversy and censorship by governments globally.Despite forced closings of exhibitions focused on abject art anddestruction of artworks by enraged viewers, shockingly horribleand disgusting images seemed to reappear in the works ofimportant contemporary artists. The present study examines thedepiction of both the beautiful and the disturbing `dark' elementin artistic production and attempts to provide a rationale forthe existence of both. Since works of art emerge through livedexperience, they reflect both the artist's psychology and thesocial conditions of the time, as experienced by the artist.Through psychoanalytic theory and current philosophicalconceptualizations of `abjection', the purpose of this work isto: First, examine the unique psychological patterns that operatein creative individuals in general, and in artists in particular;Second, provide a framework for understanding the element of the`abject' in art as a necessity arising from unconscious materialin the artist's psyche and as an expression of larger socialforces that shape the mood of artists and audiences alike; Third,explore the unique communication between artists and audiencesthrough images and understand the psychological effects suchimages may elicit for the benefit of all. Although futureresearch may be necessary to further elucidate the many variablesinfluencing artistic creativity and its manifestation in works ofart, the necessity of art itself as an expression of personal andsocial contexts is evident from the findings.
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