In the realm of contemporary art, the year 2023 has witnessed a captivating emergence of a new abstract artistic genre—sculptural psychoanalytic portraiture. This innovative form of expression combines geometric shapes, identity, and the lens of psychoanalysis to create thought-provoking sculptures that delve into the depths of the human psyche. Guided by the belief that art has the power to unravel the complexities of the mind, these sculptures invite viewers to explore the intricacies of their own subconscious.
One artist at the forefront of this movement is Ember de Boer, whose captivating sculptures push the boundaries of artistic representation. De Boer’s work is characterized by the intricate interplay of geometric forms, drawing the viewer into a dialogue between shape and meaning. Her sculptures, often crafted from a variety of materials, aim to evoke a sense of introspection and self-discovery.
In her artist statement, de Boer explains, “Through geometric abstraction, I seek to create a visual language that transcends the limitations of verbal communication. My sculptures aim to unravel the hidden layers of the human psyche, inviting viewers to engage in a deeply personal and introspective journey.”
One recurring motif in de Boer’s sculptures is the use of broken glass. This choice of material holds symbolic significance, drawing inspiration from the philosophical teachings of Jacques Derrida. Derrida’s philosophy explores the concept of deconstruction, the idea that meaning is not fixed and can be dismantled and reconstructed in new ways. By employing broken glass in her sculptures, de Boer invites viewers to contemplate the shattered fragments of their own experiences and perceptions, questioning the notion of a unified self.
The shattered glass serves as a metaphor for the complexities of the human psyche. It reflects the fragmented nature of memories, emotions, and identities. The sharp edges and jagged lines of the broken glass evoke a sense of vulnerability and instability, compelling viewers to confront their own internal structures/fractures.
Through her geometric abstract psychoanalytic sculptures, de Boer encourages viewers to embark on a journey of self-reflection and introspection. The interplay of shapes, the use of broken glass, and the incorporation of Derrida’s philosophy create a multidimensional experience, challenging viewers to question their assumptions and embrace the uncertainties of the human condition.
As viewers engage with de Boer’s sculptures, they are invited to confront their own subconscious and explore the depths of their psyche. Each viewer brings their unique interpretations and experiences, infusing the sculptures with a sense of personal resonance and connection to fractal consciousness.
In the evolving landscape of contemporary art, artists like Ember de Boer push the boundaries of artistic expression, encouraging viewers to embark on a transformative journey of self-discovery. Through the interplay of geometric forms, the use of broken glass, and the incorporation of philosophical insights, these sculptures offer a profound exploration of the human psyche, leaving a lasting impression on all who engage with them.
(This article is a further exploration of de Boer’s early writings about the intial nine broken-glass sculptures de Boer began in 2019).
deconstruction, a form of philosophical and literary analysis, derived mainly from work begun in the 1960s by the French philosopher Jacques Derrida, that questions the fundamental conceptual distinctions, or “oppositions,” in Western philosophy through a close examination of the language and logic of philosophical and literary texts.
Developed in Vienna at the turn of the century, Sigmund Freud’s theories on childhood, sexuality, and the interpretation of dreams have been hugely influential on 20th-century culture and thought. Many artists have approached personal anxieties, memories or experiences in their work through the lens of psychoanalytic theory. Freudian psychoanalysis particularly influenced the Surrealists, who adapted Freud’s practice of free association to the artistic technique of automatism as a way to liberate the unconscious. In contemporary practice, artists like Franz West have examined the cultural resonance of the therapy session in such works as Untitled (1989), a metal couch that conjures the discomfort of recounting traumatic experiences.
Lucian Freud, Sigmund’s brother was famous for his paintings, completed over a 60-year career, are mostly of friends and family. They are generally sombre and thickly impastoed, often set in unsettling interiors and urban landscapes. The works are noted for their psychological penetration and often discomforting examination of the relationship between artist and model.
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Ember DE BOER