A 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