Laura Gonzalez

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Being seen by Blind Greta — 30 Jan 2007


Douglas Gordon, 100 Blind Stars: Mirror Blind Greta, 2002. Photograph by Robert McKeever. Courtesy of the Gagosian Gallery.

Just like people queued to see the empty space of the Mona Lisa when the painting was stolen in 1911, each time I see Gordon’s Greta, I can stop looking at it. To me, this image is incomprehensible and that quality captures my gaze. Te riddle seduces. I also tend to stare at the eyes of blind people, as if looking for something, wondering how the act of seeing takes place. Yes, I know all the stuff about light and the organ of sight, but that does not account for how I see. That’s part of the riddle; a riddle that gets more complicated if we admit that perception is reality.

The eyes of Greta, the eyes that feel see me but I can’t see remind me of the eyes of Dr Sh‚Äî, my analyst. Also the stare of the artwork, that which stays with me and watches me when I am not in the gallery. How can something you see see you? And what does it do to you when you feel you are being seen? That is part of the pont of analysis; so is the case when the gallery space. You know? Freud was analyzed by the Acropolis; or, as he put the object caused a disturbance of memory in him.

Ah, the scopic drive and its relationship to desire! So much to say, so little time. Must get back to my PhD confirmation report…

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Feminine seduction — 20 Jan 2007

Prada shoesA while ago, I reported on a change of direction in my PhD. It had been under my nose all this time but it is common knowledge in psychoanalysis that the most obvious tends to be the most invisible (see Lacan on Poe’sThe purloined letter). In my obsession with the scientific and the objective I somehow overlooked the fact that what I am talking about, from a practice point of view, is feminine seduction.

There is a split, a contradiction between thoughts and my actions. I want to think objective, but I act subjective. I am drawn to shoes, to pinks, to retail therapy, shopping sprees and tiaras. The problem came when I tried to present an image of unity, when I tried to argue that what I experienced as subjective was, in fact, universal. But subjective knowledge can, after all, constitute knowledge and I may be able to get my PhD in spite of this contradiction, right? Lacan’s Seminar XX (Encore: On Feminine Sexuality, the Limits of Love and Knowledge) was helpful to put monsters at rest for a while. But I am a visual person, as I keep repeating to my psychoanalyst, images, colours, forms, are what stays with me. I discovered Silvie Fleury’s work while reading Stallabrass’s Art Incorporated. I did not like her then: although I thought her visuals were enticing, I felt there was something distrustful. A little like a Mantis Religiosa, I thought that, if I got too close, she would deceive me; so I kept my distance. But isn’t that what seduction is? Deception, in the best and worst sense, is what is at heart of it. See Valmont, Juicy Salif and Baudrillard. Once I could see that and decided I did want to be deceived (just for the pleasure [principle] of it), I saw myself reflected in her work.


Sylvie Fleury, Pleasures

Above: Sylvie Fleury, Prada Shoes, Courtesy of Art&Public

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Getting on with it… — 15 Jan 2007

I have uploaded images of work-in-progress created as part of my PhD project. Engaging in practice has been productive, even if difficult. The practice of analysis and of art are beginning to converge in a weird sense and I am hoping that writing my confirmation report will bring that very point into some clear focus. At the moment it is just a list of shared characteristics and references. A hypothesis. Bijoux #4 (engage and commit) is probably the one that best reflects this connection: it is awkward; wearing it hurts. I agree with S‚Äî. The practice is a little illustrative of what I read, see, like… Yet, it is a first step, like laying on the couch. Where forces are pulling in different directions ‚Äîtheory here; art there; psychoanalysis, up; epistemology, down; my own practice this other way‚Äî, this attempt to crete is a step towards a kind of negitiation. What I now need to do is to create seduction, not to seduce (which may be impossible, as seduction is always in flux, never still)

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Chilhood memories — 12 Jan 2007

object

I have always had a soft spot for what other people might consider bad photographs. Call them errors, mistakes, mishaps, shakes, parapraxes, slips, forgetfulness, out-of-focus, wrongly lit, stupidity, lapsi… The thing is that, for me, they hold something of the moment that straight pictures, in all of their sanitised composion, don’t. Obviously, my point is that the unconscious speaks though them. I have rescued many of these over the years. I remember when photographs used to come in paper and my dad went through the set and chucked away those that were “bad”. More than once, after being put to bed but unable to get to sleep, I would get up and safe some of those photographs from eternal repression. “I am thirsty” ‚Äì I would say, if someone asked me what I was doing. The answer was not totally false. I was trying to understand.

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How could anyone resist? — 10 Jan 2007

Liz Carine’s Shimmery Emerald Evening Peeptoe Pumps
From fashiontribes

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About Me

I am an artist and writer. My recent practice performance, film, dance, photography and text, and my work has been performed, exhibited and published in many venues in Europe and the US. I have spoken at numerous conferences and events, including the Museum for the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, the Medical Museum in Copenhagen, College Arts Association and the Association for the Psychoanalysis of Culture and Society. When I am not following Freud, Lacan and Marx’s footsteps with my camera or creating performance works as part of my Athenaeum Research Fellowship at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, I teach postgraduate students at Transart Institute.

I am currently immersed in an interdisciplinary project exploring knowledge and the body of the hysteric. In 2013, together with Child and Adolescent Mental Health practitioner Frances Davies, I co-edited the book ‘Madness, Women and the Power of Art’, to which I contributed a work authored with Eleanor Bowen. My book ‘Make Me Yours: How Art Seduces’ was published by Cambridge Scholars in 2016. In this text, investigates psychoanalytic approaches to making and understanding objects of seduction, including an examination of parallels between artistic and analytic practices, a study of Manolo Blahnik’s shoes as objects of desire, a disturbing encounter with Marcel Duchamp’s last work, and the creation of a psychoanalytically inspired Discourse of the Artefact, a framework enabling the circulation of questions and answers through a relational approach to artworks.