An absent symbol
For the signifier is a unit in its very uniqueness, being by nature symbol
only of an absence. –Jacques Lacan
Images are a sort of sign. They are the requisite signifier/signified combination. Just mixed up some, as memory and fantasy are the mutual sources of both. They just appear to the consciousness, they are thought of and then they are drawn out, pun intended, from a private language to a public one. After that, the texts which are written in a disinterested manner for a disinterested world. There is a lot more of the artist in the drawings than the texts. The texts are kind of a justification for the art, a seeking of permission, not gotten by drawing.
Art can, in Freudian terms, begin with the id’s images, that are made public by the ego, finally they are “explained” in superego terms. Or does art mimic Lacan’s plan for human development? Where images are of the Real (pre-language) the drawings are Image-inary, in a private-becoming-public language, mirroring the self. And the texts are of the Symbolic order explanations in terms society–“the big other–” understands. It’s ironic that all this is so difficult to understand, for me at least.
The drawing: A different lack of understanding leads to mis-steps mis-judgedments and failures to act. it’s uncertainty in a dangerous space where on is seen as much as one sees. A pond in winter seems solid for now, but one’s footing is always unsure. The artist seeing the art, is seen. But will explaining (justification) save our artist as he inches forward? Or is this drawing just two isolated –framed — spaces for his fictions. Here there’s a “she waits” and a “he’s trying.” Two fictions? Two of his attempts to be real? Or one of each? Undecidable, again.
The two fictions share that uncertainty. He could be more than the half artist as he sees himself as. But, self analysis — self knowledge — seems impossible, he can’t see the missing half, he can’t see himself as others see him. mis-steps, mis-judgedments are inevitable. And she could be the (romantic) one, not the one (the man, the they of Heidegger) the big other of Lacan or even Sartre’s others. Naked not nude, intimate. but, the artist again, this time outside of the frame, fearing mis-steps mis-judgedments, enframes her too, making her nude, not naked and distant, not intimate. An absent symbol. Art not life.