Laura Gonzalez


2 Dec 2011

Spaces to work hysteria

La Ribot’s wonderful work Llamame Mariachi, inspired me as to the technique I wanted to use for my work on hysteria.

She films movement from within, she dances with the camera and the effect is one of convulsion, but also joy.




So, since my PhD, I have changed the space I work in, from a crowded artist’s studio, with papers, notes, images, computers and sketchbooks to an empty dance space.


It is here that I rehearse the movements of hysteria, its body practice, like the famous arch of hysteria (remember La Grande Hysterique I wrote about a few weeks back), in which you may recognise the high arch prone of contemporary dance and which some of you may know in the guise of Louise Bourgeois’ sculpture. In hers, the hysteric is a man.




For hysteria is a body practice and, moreover, a choreography.

Look at Charcot’s movement classifications, from his attitudes passionelles (passionate attitudes, the seduction in hysteria), to the clownisme, epileptoide phase and delirium. All pervert (exhibitionist) phases too, I think.


Posted in Blog, Hysteria, Inspiration, Interesting people, Practice

2 Responses to “Spaces to work hysteria”

  1. Mary Pat Campbell said:

    I’m a psychoanalytic psychotherapist – with a big interest in Hysteria / psychosomatics and the nature of the body/mind split.
    The beginnings of psychoanalysis and the importance of hysteria – how its been taken forward into psychoanalysis, art, politics, feminist thinking.
    also interested in dance, and Charcot and…….!

  2. Laura said:

    How wonderful, Mary. Thank you for your comment. I think our interests do cross over a lot. I am particularly keen to work in the dance studio with Charcot’s photographs as inspiration, as well as Freud and Cixous’ texts. I want to collaborate with psychoanalysts too. Have your written anything on hysteria? Is there anything you recommend I particularly look at apart from Charcot, Freud, Cixous, Siri and Asti Husvedt and all the other usual suspects?

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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.