For Want of Ambiguity: Order and Chaos in Art, Psychoanalysis, and Neuroscience
Everything moves, varies, appears and disappears in the environment around us and within our selves. This continual change has modelled our nervous system to extract stability out of what is not stable. We relate to people according to established behaviours that become patterns and adopt defensive mechanisms we continually repeat. Yet every creative process and psychoanalysis itself keep possibilities alive. Art and psychoanalysis help us to overcome these constancies. We will address in this presentation ways in which the dialogue between psychoanalysis and neuroscience sheds light on the transformational capacity of contemporary art. New questions arise in the context of such a dialogue as to the uniquely transgressive and often provocative arena in which meaning is made in art and patterns of making sense are revealed. Looking at the work of Ida Applebroog and others, we will seek to uncover new ways of thinking about how insight is achieved outside the arena of certainty.
Lois Oppenheim, PhD is University Distinguished Scholar, Professor of French, and Chair of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at Montclair State University. She is Scholar Associate Member of the New York Psychoanalytic Society and Institute and Honorary Member of the William Alanson White Society.
Ludovica Lumer, PhD is a neuroscientist who earned her PhD from University College London conducting seminal research on the relationship between visual perception and artistic representation. She currently lives in New York where she is a psychoanalyst in private practice.
Our ‘Unheard Voices‘ events season aims to illuminate the life and work of women whose stories have been stifled by history.
The season spans two major exhibitions at the Freud Museum: ‘Ida Applebroog: Mercy Hospital’ (29 February – 7 July 2020) and ‘Muriel Gardiner’ (June – October 2020), both celebrated for challenging the structures of society and pushing boundaries in the name of activism.