Monday, October 17, 2011


(Georges Braque, Lying Nude (The Bather IX), 1932)

I’ve been thinking about hallucinations. Generally we associate the word with acid and mushrooms. That doesn’t interest me so much mainly because I’ve never tripped and I never want to. I don’t need it, I’m scared enough as it is. I suppose it has be powerful. New York Times art critic Ken Johnson just published a whole book on the influence tripping has had on modern art.

Georges Braque also used the word “hallucination” to describe the process of artmaking. Miro did too. In a statement in Minotaure, December 1933, the latter said:
It is difficult for me to talk about my painting, since it is always born in a state of hallucination, brought on by some jolt or other – whether objective or subjective – which I am not the least responsible for.

From what I gather, these artists were both using the word to describe what we might now call a process of “making the unconscious conscious.” I doubt many would use the word “hallucination” anymore in this way in our times, because we’ve become so familiar with psychoanalysis, dream interpretation and representation, etc. It doesn’t really qualify as halluncination, in my mind, because it’s familiar (now). We can explain it, whether it’s accurate or not. I think a hallucination must be something that feels outside the self.

No comments: