VISUAL REPRESENTATION

of Psychological Concepts and Terms in Modern and Contemporary Art
11.10.2020

The article explores important historical aspects of visual representations in art of various psychological concepts and terms belonging to different psychological systems and schools.

The triumph of psychology as an independent modern discipline opened new territories to the development of Western individualism. Psychology not only legitimized a new kind of autonomous subjective space based on psychological concepts and terms but also offered new models for its representation [35]. Modern art developed part of its escalating autonomy in the field of “psychological Modernism”, which between 1880 and 1940 included theories and practices related to hypnosis, somnambulism, psychical research, dream interpretation, mediumistic psychology, automatic writing, faith healing, and spiritualism. The distinctive feature of psychological Modernism was its embrace of a primarily “psychological solution” to the problems of modernity [34]. According to the historian Mark Micale, psychological and aesthetic Modernism can be regarded as cultural domains with two parallel and competing discourses of the idea of The Modern and with shared metaphors for the dissolution of the real and visualizing the unseen [26].

In the context of psychological Modernism, art functioned as a hypothetical device used to resolve the nature of certain psychological facts or to explain various complex phenomena generated during spiritual experiences and superconscious states. From the late 19th century to the mid‑20th century, modern art worked as a set of higher-order interpretative statements that were used to explain psychological relationships and to generate psychological hypotheses subjected to artistic experiments.

Through the modern period, artistic production was based on the idea of absolute art and the studies of exceptional aesthetic experiences in which the sense of identity and the ways of knowing and doing art were expanded beyond the established framework of the conventional culture. The idea of absolute art was tied to the expectations of the avant-garde movements of the twentieth century to turn modern art into the most important part of the human psychic evolution. Psychological Modernism was related to the idea of higher consciousness, and in this context, it saw art as a psychological tool for the development of that higher consciousness [29].

Under the epistemological constellation of psychological Modernism, as a free imaginary space for a radical psychological rethinking of human experience, there was a large specter of related ideas that came from the fields of medical psychology, psychiatry, psychical research, transcendental psychology, theosophical psychology, philosophy of life, psychoanalysis, and applied psychology (table 1).
Table 1. Table showing visual representations of psychological concepts and terms in art (1890–1930).
Table created by author Peter Tzanev.
Style
Symbolism
Expressionism
Abstraction
Surrealism
Constructivism










Artist


Edvard Munch
Vision
(Self-portrait)

1892​
Erich Heckel
Wounded Sailor


​1915​
Wassily Kandinsky
Untitled


​1915
Man Ray, Max Morise, André Breton, Yves Tanguy
Cadavre exquis
1927
Alexander Rodchenko
Fire Escape

1925​
Shool
Transcendental Psychology
Philosophy of life
Theosophical
Psychology
Psychoanalysis
Applied
Psychology
Terms



​​
Transcendental psychological function

Subliminal Self
Psychology of lived experience

Empathy
Super-consciousness

Thought-Forms
Unconscious

Psychological automatism
Psychotechnics

Psychological knowledge
Authors




Carl du Prel
(1839–1899)

Frederic W. H.
Myers
(1843–1901)
Wilhelm Dilthey
(1833–1911)

​Theodor Lipps
(1851–1914)
Helena Blavatsky
(1831–1891)

Annie Besant
(1847–1933)
Sigmund Freud
(1856–1939)

Pierre Janet
(1859–1947)
Hugo Munsterberg
(1863–1916)



​​
Many of the representational models of Symbolist art were based on the categories of Transcendental psychology of Carl du Prel that was very popular in the late nineteenth century. Du Prel understands human consciousness as Janus-faced. One face inhabited the waking world of everyday sense experience while the other lived in the unconscious world of dream, trance, clairvoyant vision, and telepathic suggestion. Between the two lay a barrier of awareness that normally blocked one face from knowing the other [34].

At the time, when Du Prel was advancing his two modes of consciousness – sense-based and transcendental – the British poet Frederic Myers, who was one of the founders of the Society for Psychical Research, established in London in 1882, introduced the theory of the “Subliminal Self” [27]. His book Human Personality and Its Survival of Bodily Death, published posthumously in 1903, analyses, for example, such phenomena as Psy­chor­rhagy (a special idiosyncrasy which tends to make the phantasm of a person easily perceptible) and Phantas­mogenetic Center (a point in space apparently modified by a spirit in such a way that persons present near it perceive a phantasm) [28]. A century later, the American psychologist William Braud – one of the leading psi researchers – has argued that much within the traditions of psychical research and of explorations of the un­con­scious, since 1901, is but a series of footnotes to Myers and Du Prel [5]. Art historian Marja Lachelma interprets the symbolist painting Vision (1892) by Edward Munch in the context of Du Prell’s ideas, developed by Munch’s close friend, the Polish poet Stanisław Przybyszewski, during the time of their personal and intel­lectual relationship in Berlin between 1892 and 1895 [20]. Przybyszewski published a little book on Munch's art in 1894, in which he wrote: “Munch was the first artist who has ever undertaken to represent the most subtle and inconspicuous of psychological processes just as they appear spontaneously in the pure consciousness of individuality, and quite independently of any mental activity on our part.” [20]. According to Lachelma: “This unconventional self-portrait [the painting Vision] represents a distorted human head floating in the water. Peacefully gliding above it is a white swan – a motif that is laden with symbolism alluding to the mysteries of life and death, beauty, grace, truth, divinity, and poetry…For Munch himself, Vision was one of the central images of the 1890s. It was shown in all his major exhibitions between 1892 and 1898, including the scanda­lous Verein Berliner Künstler exhibition of 1892. Moreover, when in 1893 Munch started assembling the series entitled Love, which would later evolve into the Frieze of Life, he planned to use Vision as the central image around which the other works would have been arranged.” [20].

The idea of an immaterial double was central in the modern occult theories. This personal double was the subject’s link into a higher realm. Przybyszewski explains that by “individuality” he means the transcen­dental consciousness that is usually called “the unconscious.” This he describes in terms that are very similar to those used by Carl du Prel, who distinguishes the transcendental Subject from the conscious Ego. The trans­cendental side of our being is manifested in sleep and related states, such as trance, hypnosis, or somnam­bulism. This part of our being, which is unknown to our conscious Ego, is immortal and inherently more sensitive than our everyday self. Carl du Prel suggested that in the course of evolution this hidden part will slowly emerge into consciousness. Similarly, Przybyszewski describes individuality as “the immortal dimension of man.” [20].

Carl du Prel was a leading theoretician and proponent of research into dissociation, and hypothetical post­mortem survival. He was a key figure in the intellectual scene of fin de siècle Germany. Sigmund Freud in his Interpretation of Dreams (1900), called him “that brilliant mystic”. Du Prel had a certain influence not only on other psychologists, such as Carl Gustav Jung but also on several artists of fame, for example, Wassily Kandinsky and the poet Rainer Maria Rilke [33]. He also had avid readers in the Nordic countries, including August Strindberg and Ola Hansson, who did their part in disseminating du-Prelian ideas among their fellow northerners and connected a du-Prelian evolutionary vision with notions of creative suffering and artistic hypersensitivity. Several of du Prel’s writings were translated into Swedish almost immediately (a Swedish translation of Die Philosophie der Mystik was published in 1890) [21]. The ground-breaking Die Philosophie der Mystik (The Philosophy of Mysticism, 1885) was the only work of Du Prel to appear in an English edition and was translated into two volumes by Frederic Myers’s friend C. C. Massey [11]. Before it, Du Prel wrote a treatise on the psychology of artistic productions [9], which anticipates crucial elements of his theory of the uncon­scious, later presented more systematically in Die Entdeckung der Seele durch die Geheimwissenschaften (The Discovery of the Soul through the Secret Sciences, 1894).

Questions concerning immortality and the soul are at the heart of the spiritual doctrine of Theosophical psychology. Russian occultist Helena Blavatsky, the chief founder of the Theosophical movement, defined Theosophical psychology as the science of the soul. She postulated that every mental change is signalized by a molecular change in the brain substance. For Materialism, mental changes are caused by molecular changes, and for Spiritualism (believers in a soul) molecular changes are caused by mental changes.

The scientific claims of occult psychological Modernism on the study of unknown natural laws and hidden forces in the human mind have had a powerful influence on avant-garde artists who constructed projects around the psychological dimensions of invisibility. The most obvious evidence of this influence can be found in the impact that the book Thought-Forms, published in 1905 by the British theosophists Anni Besant and Charles Leadbeater, left in the work of artists such as Wassily Kandinsky and Hilma af Klint. The illustrations in Thought-Forms (the genesis of the book was an article by Annie Besant, published in 1896) of different types of “psychic auras” and “spiritual vibrations” can be considered some of the first experimental images in which a new abstract aesthetics of psychological Modernism was manifested. The new theosophical psychology captured the artist’s imagination with the idea that it offers a path to the essence of true art. Theosophical art was addressed to the psychological subject and focused on the psychology of what appears outside of the senses. Modernism was focused on an imaginary model of humanity and on a theurgic concept of art, according to which the artist has special mental abilities, allowing them to overcome the limitations of perception and making them able to reveal the true essence of what is hidden.

Du Prel’s “transcendental subject” and Myers’s “subliminal Self”, as well as the „thought forms“ of Besant and Leadbeater, encompass properties of the human psyche such as paradoxical creativity and extra-sensory perception. At the same time, German philosopher Wilhelm Dilthey, who developed a philosophy of life, wrote that “the creative work always depends on the intensity of lived experience” [8]. In his Ideas concerning a Descriptive and Analytic Psychology (1894), Dilthey drew a distinction between explanatory psychology following the methods of the natural sciences and descriptive and analytic psychology of lived experience. For Dilthey, this methodological difference between the natural and the human sciences is due to a difference in their objects of study. Human studies are distinguished from the sciences of nature because their objects are not presented to consciousness from outside, as phenomena that are given in isolation, but because they are given from within as a living continuum. In 1894, the position of the head of the department of systematic philosophy in Munich University was taken by the philosophy professor Teodor Lipps, who regards psychology as a fundamental part of the philosophy of knowledge and defends the idea that philosophy will be gradually replaced by psychology as a science of consciousness. In his Aesthetics: Psychology of the Beautiful and Art (Aesthetik: Psychologie des Schonen und der Kunst), published in 1903, Lipps states that aesthetics should develop as a “psychological discipline” [22].

The medical clinicians concentrated their efforts in two areas: first, the exploration of the interior of the human organism as a febrile, mechanistic system of nerves and, second, the examination of visual dimensions of the thought process, with particular emphasis on the role of images in the mental operations underlying states of hypnotism, suggestion, and dreams. According to Mark Micale, the psychoanalytic body is a radically decorporealized body. The body in Freudian psychology was interesting only as in so far as it was an imagined object of the psyche [24].

After 1930, all revolutionary expectations for a psychological redefinition of human experience faced the impossibility of creating a complete psychological project. This was contemporaneous with the failed revolution of the psychological Modernism or what John Bramble, in his history of modernist occult practices, describes as, “The downfall of the modernist culture of the soul” [4].

Modernism was the first global movement in the history of art that clearly showed that art is a place of conflict between different modes of consciousness, or different patterns of mental life that seek their representations in art [35]. The productive interaction between art and new psychological sciences became the most direct and exciting way to uncover the deepest expressions of modern individual personality. At the same time, Modernism arose in a psychological context that was not monolithic. The literary scholar Joshua Gang claims that during the first decades of the twentieth century, there was a competition between an array of psycho­logical theories – including behaviorism, structuralism, and psychoanalysis – circulating simultaneously and competing against each other and that in this situation, to choose one psychological theory was to choose not only a model of the mind, but also a set of aesthetic, philosophical, and political entailments (Gang 2013).

In the 1930s psychology finally moved away from the idea of the soul and became a science, relying on expe­rimentation and control. Psychologists no longer needed a soul. The lack of a new unifying concept directed psychology towards convergence with other modern sciences and focused its goals in the study of awareness, problems of perception, cognitive functions, personality structure, identity, and models of human behavior. Between 1930 and 1970, the artists interacted mainly with ideas and concepts that were in the field of Gestalt psychology, Social psychology, Phenomenological psychology, and Cognitive psychology (table 2).
Table 2. Table showing visual representations of psychological concepts and terms in art (1930–1970).
Table created by author Peter Tzanev.
Style
Op Art
Abstract Expressionism
Pop Art
Minimalism
Conceptual Art
Artist

Victor Vasarely
Zebras
1938
Adolph Gottlieb
Pictograph - Symbol
1942
Andy Warhol
Coca-Cola (3)
1962
Robert Morris
Untitled
1965
Brian O’Doherty
Duchamp Boxed
1968
Shool
Gestalt
Psychology
Analytical Psychology
Social
Psychology
Phenomenological Psychology
Cognitive Psychology
Terms


Figure–ground

Reification
Archetypes

Collective unconscious
Life space

Social topicality
Psychology of phenomenological presence
Concept formation

Dual coding theory
Authors



Max Wertheimer
(1880–1943)

Wolfgang Kohler
(1887–1967)
Carl Gustav Jung
(1875–1961)


Kurt Lewin
(1890–1947)

Lawrence Alloway
(1926–1990)
Maurice
Merleau-Ponty
(1908–1961)

Jerome Bruner
(1915–2016)

Allan Paivio
(1925–2016)
Gestalt psychology has contributed to the establishment of the psychology of art as an independent discipline, and also has influenced the emergence of Op art. The development of Pop art, Minimalism, and Conceptual Art was a kind of reaction against the highly psychologized art of Abstract Expressionism, which synthesizes the metaphysical and religious aspects of Psychoanalysis developed by Jung's Analytical Psychology and the extraordinary dimensions of abstraction as cultivation of spiritual experience in the context of Trans­cendental psychology and Theosophical psychology. Pop art coincided with the rise of Social psychology, and a theorizing artist in the field of Minimalism such as Robert Morris was strongly attracted to the ideas of Phe­nome­nological psychology. Conceptual art has begun to impose its hegemony in parallel with the powerful wave of Cognitive Psychology. In the 1960s, there was a “conceptual revolution” in art and a “cognitive revo­lution” in psychology. Many researchers in psychology began to take a greater interest in what goes on in the mind. This change of perspective led to what is known as Cognitive psychology. The shift began with the study of learning but became established as the study of information processing associated with mental activities.

The basic principle of Conceptual Art is that ideas and concepts constitute the real art. Psychologists use the term concept formation, or concept learning, to refer to the development of the ability to respond to common features of categories of objects or events. Concept formation is defined by American cognitive psychologists Jerome Bruner, Jacqueline Goodnow and George Austin (1956) as „the search for and listing of attributes that can be used to distinguish exemplars from non exemplars of various categories“. Concepts are the mental categories that help us classify objects, events, or ideas, building on the understanding that each object, event, or idea has a set of common relevant features. Thus, concept learning is a strategy that requires a spectator to compare and contrast groups or categories that contain concept-relevant features.
The conceptual artist Brian O’Doherty became famous with the influential book Inside the White Cube: The Ideology of the Gallery Space (1986), whose three texts on the art gallery as a modernist invention were first published in 1976 in Artforum. O’Doherty’s interest in repetition, variation, and permutation had its source in the perceptual and cognitive investigations in which he participated in 1957 as a young researcher at Cam­bridge University’s Experimental Psychology Laboratories [30]. O’Doherty greatly admired Duchamp and made friends with him in the early 1960s. According to art historian Margaret Iversen: “He [O’Doherty] was provoked, however, by Duchamp’s pessimistic attitude to the possibility of art surviving its moment of creation. Duchamp saw the museum as a graveyard and contended that, “When you put art on the wall of the museum, it begins to die”. O’Doherty, who was trained as a doctor and was at that time interested in the ethical issues and problems of identity that arose from the possibility of transplanting hearts (achieved in 1967) and other organs, thought about ways he could refute this skeptical claim. It occurred to him that the perfect refutation would be to capture Duchamp’s beating heart and display it in a museum. He managed to do this by getting Duchamp to lie on a bed and have electrodes attached to his extremities in order to take readings with a hired electrocardiogram [18]. The art work Duchamp Boxed (1968) by Brian O’Doherty is a cylinder wrapped with a strip of the ECG inserted into a little blue cardboard casket.

In 1978 the term cognitive neuroscience was coined by American psychologists Michael Gazzaniga and George Miller for the effort to understand how the brain represents mental events. The profound influence of cognitive neuroscience on psychology has radically changed the research strategy and foundations of psychological science. It can be said that what has happened in psychology since the end of the 1970s is largely a consequence of the total dominance of cognitive neuroscience and the reaction of other psychological schools to this situation. Art without the role of arbiter has continued to interact freely with a wide range of psychological ideas and concepts (table 3).
Table 3. Table showing visual representations of psychological concepts and terms in art (1970–2020).
Table created by author Peter Tzanev.
Style​
Post-Minimalism​
Neo-Expressionism​
Neo-Pop Art
Post-Conceptual Art​
Speculative Realism
Artist


Dan Graham
Public Space/
Two Audiences
1976
Anselm Kiefer
Emanation

1984
Jeff Koons
Rabbit

1986
Tino Sehgal
This Progress

2010
Haim Steinbach
Untitled

2019
Shool
Lacanian
Psychology
Archetypal Psychology
Consumer Psychology
Situationist Social Psychology
Speculative
Psychology
Terms


Gaze

Specular image
Imaginable realities

Imaginative possibility
Consumption symbolism

Situational forces

Situational variables
Polypsychism

Hyperobjects
Authors



Jacques Lacan
(1901–1981)


Henry Corbin
(1903–1978)

​James Hillman
(1926–2011)
James Bettman
(1943–)


Philip Zimbardo
(1933–)


Graham Harman
(1968–)

Timothy Morton
(1968–)
The solid core of what the art world today defines as „Contemporary art“ contains a constant response to the two great revolutions that took place simultaneously in the 1960s, namely the revolutions of Conceptual Art and Minimalism. The immeasurable consequences of these two artistic revolutions after the mid‑1970s began to be interpreted with the terms Post-conceptual art and Post-Minimalism. Minimalism deals with a radical redefinition of the image in art. The artist does not depict, express, or represent, but is in the spectator's field. Thus the one who creates and the one who perceives the image are present intertwined both within the manifestation of the work as a phenomenon. The minimalist work frees our perception from all prejudices and imaginary ideas through the purity of perceptual experience. The work does not reproduce ideas but creates a completely new experience. Post-Minimalism as a generator of new genres and artistic activities has never lost its influence and has never left the scene of Contemporary art. But more interestingly, in its vast and open range of difficult to articulate sensory and structural innovations, there remains a special space turned to some deep impersonal drama. I am tempted to say that if in its monumental purity Minimalism remains rigidly turned to the absolute idealizations of the perceptual, then Post-Minimalism is strangely turned to the hidden identity of experience [36].

Some of the works of Post-Minimalism and Post-Conceptual Art contain influences from the concepts and terms of Lacanian psychology and Situationist Social Psychology. The American art historian Hal Foster in his groundbreaking book The Return of the Real: The Avant-Garde at the End of the Century – a book in which the most cited author is Jacques Lacan – argues that Minimalism completes and overcomes the modernist trajectory of self-criticism, moving from the formal nature of categories to perceptual conditions and boundaries of art [14]. Placing the psychology of art within the structural mechanism of art itself, rather than as an external explanatory context, is a new approach that defines Lacan’s special place as a thinker in the field of art psychology. Lacan assembles new unusual psychology of gaze that turns the place of art from an object of study into an investigative apparatus [19]. In the work of Dan Graham Public Space/Two Audiences (1976), the viewers watch themselves and watch others, and at the same time, the viewers watch others being watched and watch themselves, being watched.

At the beginning of the twentieth century, Hugo Münsterberg, one of the pioneers in applied psychology, divided two sections into applied psychology: cultural psychology and psychotechnics. According to him, the psychology of culture is oriented towards rethinking the past of culture, and psychotechnics towards the future of culture. Münsterberg believed that psychotechnics is not identical to applied psychology, but refers only to that part of it in which it is a question of achieving goals aimed at the future [26]. The development of Münsterberg’s idea of the artist as a psychotechnician in the field of art gained great popularity in the 1920s in Germany and Russia. In September 1921 five Russian avant-garde artists organized an exhibition, which was called 5x5=25, as a farewell to the bourgeois practice of painting, and embarked on a search for new forms of art that would be “useful” to everyday life such as graphic design, advertising, and photography. Alexander Rodchenko exhibited a triptych of monochrome canvases Pure Red Colour, Pure Yellow Colour, and Pure Blue Colour, which reduced the pointlessness of painting to its logical conclusion. After the exhibition, Rodchenko turned to photographing and designing posters (table 1).

Mustenberg’s book Fundamentals of Psychotechnics was translated and published in Russian in 1922, and in the same year, Isaac Spielrein established the first Psychotechnical laboratory in Moscow. In 1923 a section of psychotechnics was established at the Institute of Psychology at Moscow State University. The Psychotechnische Zeitschrift (Psychotechnical Review) was published in Germany in 1925, and the Russian Society of Psychotechnics and Applied Psychophysiology was established in Moscow in 1927.

In 1923, Malevich made his first three-dimensional Suprematist structures, which he called “architectons”. Architectons are not real architectural projects, but imaginary structures designed to transform our perception of the living environment we inhabit. Architectons are immortal psychological structures. For Malevitch „all that is created by art remains forever, and neither time nor new types of social relations can alter it“ [23]. In 1927, the avant-garde artist and theorist Alexei Gan defended Malevich's Suprematist architectons as follows: “During recent years comrade Malevich has worked exclusively in the field of volumetric Suprematist compositions…what Malevich does, we repeat, has great psychological importance…This is where Suprematist studies can be very important. They could be very beneficially introduced into the Basic Course of the VKhUTEMAS, in parallel to those exercises currently conducted under the influence of the psychologist Münsterberg’s Harvard Laboratory. The novelty, purity, and originality of abstract Suprematism foster new psychology of perception. This is where Malevich’s great contribution will lie.” (Gan 1927). Malevich stated in 1928 in the pages of the journal New Generation: “Our contemporaries must understand that life will not be the content of art, but rather that art must become the content of life, since only thus can life be beautiful.” [23].

Turning art into a psychological project means that art becomes an activity that introduces new psychological values. The introduction of new psychological values in life is an endless process and therefore the program of psychotechnics as a form of “psychological futurism” in art acquires the all-encompassing claims of psychological utopia. For psychotechnics, art as a psychological project means the realization of a permanent psychological revolution. It is no coincidence that the head of Soviet psychotechnics, Isaak Spielrein was a supporter of Trotsky’s idea of a permanent world revolution and has believed that psychotechnics was part of its means. Spielrein was arrested on January 26, 1935, and shot on December 26, 1937. It is symptomatic that in the same years when psychotechnical organizations and institutes were closed and liquidated in the Soviet Union, psychotechnics was also criticized in Nazi Germany, where, like psychoanalysis, it was denounced as reactionary Jewish science.

After the Second World War, Applied Psychology did not develop as a specific psychological system or school but became a collective term denoting all approaches and disciplines within psychology that seek to apply the principles, discoveries, and theories of psychology in practice in intermediate fields such as clinical psychology, counseling psychology, industrial and organizational psychology, forensic psychology, engineering psychology, as well as areas such as school psychology, and sports psychology. The British historian of psychology Graham Richards believes that applied psychology emerged as a discipline that aims to solve practical problems in society, as opposed to more abstract scientific and philosophical studies of the human psyche and behavior. In many areas, psychology faces the specific problems of children, criminals, and the mentally ill, and these differentiated groups are gradually expanding to new categories such as the military, workers, parents, the socially disadvantaged, athletes, or even more general categories such as consumers [31].

Neo-Pop art in the form of an ironic avant-garde produces artistic fetishes by transforming kitsch into high art. In 1986, Jeff Koons created his sculpture Rabbit (currently the most expensive artwork sold by a living artist). In the same year, the American professor of psychology at Duke University James Bettman had published his article Consumer Psychology (Bettman 1986) which preceded the appearance of the Journal of Consumer Psychology that was established in 1992 for theoretical and empirical research of the psychology of consumer behavior.

Archetypal psychology was created in 1975 by American psychologist James Hillman as a continuation of Analytical Psychology, but at the same time, it was a form of radical deviation from it. According to Hillman, the task of Archetypal psychology is not social adaptation or personal individualization, but the return of the individual to the imaginary reality of archetypal images. In his magnum opus, Re-Visioning Psychology, Hillman writes: „By soul I mean, first of all, a perspective rather than a substance, a viewpoint toward things rather than a thing itself. This perspective is reflective; it mediates events and makes differences between ourselves and everything that happens…In another attempt upon the idea of soul I suggest that the word refers to that unknown component which makes meaning possible, turns events into experiences, is communicated in love, and has a religious concern. These four qualifications I had already put forth some years ago. I had begun to use the term freely, usually interchangeably with psyche (from Greek) and anima (from Latin). Now I am adding three necessary modifications. First, soul refers to the deepening of events into experiences; second, the significance of soul makes possible, whether in love or in religious concern, derives from its special relation with death. And third, by soul I mean the imaginative possibility in our natures, the experiencing through reflective speculation, dream, image, fantasy – that mode which recognizes all realities as primarily symbolic or metaphorical.“ [17].

Archetypal psychology continues a line that can be found in the Philosophy of Life of Dilthey and his followers such as Ludwig Klages, who insisted on the psychological connection between the soul and the power of images. Also, Hillman's ideas are close to the Object-oriented ontology developed by Graham Harman and especially the Speculative psychology proposed by him in 2011[16].

Since the 1980s, the artist Haim Steinbach has been assembling found objects into surprising and compelling groupings that play upon the malleability of perception and meaning. Steinbach “arranges” objects and he does so with the belief that in his presentation he is revealing something about them as the objects they are. In Steinbach’s words: “an object’s meaning is inherent in what it is in itself, not because I glued it to another object or something like that. I simply place the objects. I don’t draw them, I don’t alter them. They are basically already existing objects, I just make arrangements of them.” (Steinbach as cited in Sherritt 2019). Steinbach has created art that tries to bring out the object in its own right prior to the establishment of object-oriented ontology, but as Megan Sherritt argues, now he has a philosophical (I think also a psychological) framework for his art.

Different schools and movements of modern art and modern psychology at certain points in their historical development have shared common epistems [13]. This closeness is not always stated directly with reference to specific concepts or terms. Art and psychology experiment with human impermanence, capturing nuances of human imagination and behavior that avoid stable and long-lasting structures. The dialogue between art and psychology has never been institutionalized in scientific paradigms. It is no wonder that sometimes the connections between art and psychology are invisible, because they deal with things that are unsuitable for objectification.

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