Fear of Read Balloons

balloons2Sometimes ideas pop up and catch my attention simply because they are clever. Then I draw them out, illustrate them. The scene of this idea is a Freudian consulting room. The stereotypical analyst on the left is modeled after Siggy himself, and the analysand on the right affects a Picasso-style Breton striped tee to look like a stereotypical artist. In such situations an analysand talks and the analyst thinks. This is symbolized here by cartoonist mainstays, thought and word balloons. What’s cleverest here is the small naked woman possibly going from one balloon to the other using tiny ladders. So what does she symbolize?

Art as sublimation of course! What could make a better symbol for art that than a naked woman drawn by a pixilated artist? Add a bonus ironic repression by pixelating one and you have a perfect illustration for the Freudian condensation of art, beauty, sex and desire, or rather as he says society does to keep from exploding. He declares art to be a desire towards beauty and “a perfect example of an impulse inhibited in its aim,” The aim being sex, therefore sex sublimated produces art. And female nudes being art genre “numero uno” goes along with that.

But the image is not that simple. Here, the naked woman is less an (art or sex) object and is more subject than either of the two gents who join her in this picture. They are ignorant of their status as symbols, as objects.  She is not, she confronts the beholders of the art, and denies them their attempted use of it to subject, symbolize, idealize or make a fantasy of her.  She returns their gaze unused and she won’t be symbolized by the thought or word balloons. Her strapped-on wings fall off.

No therapy is happening in the art but that doesn’t mean that art isn’t therapeutic.