11 October 2009

freud. art. fantasies.

I liked Freud’s view of art in relation to fantasies, even though I do not think it applies to every aspect of art.
Freud describes “phantasies” as unsatisfied wishes. “Every separate fantasy contains the fulfillment of a wish, and improves on unsatisfactory reality.”
Therefore, Freud believes that unhappy people have these fantasies and art serves as an outlet for these oppressed, animalistic tendencies that, without art, are suppressed by civilization.

Portraying the fantasies through art does not repel its viewer; the art is aesthetically pleasing, even to the most conservative of viewers.
Art allows the oppressed to gain pleasure in making the art as well as releasing the built-up tension that the fantasies mount inside of us. Art also gives pleasure to the viewer, who might recognize the fantasy as one similar to their own, and they also release the tension that builds up. It allows the viewer to enjoy own daydreams and fantasies without shame, if they are of the erotic nature.

One artist I thought of was Georgia O’Keeffe, whose Calla Lily paintings have been likened to sexual fantasies of the artist. In one article it states, “The vibrating fragility and intimate centrality of Georgia's flowers led some art critics to liken them to female genitalia, consequently they believed Georgia was interpreting the Freudian sexuality rampant in "Roaring Twenties" society. In truth they saw only half the picture (no pun intended): Georgia used the flowers as a sexual metaphor to arouse enchantment with its beauty.”[via http://www.lkwdpl.org/wihohio/okee-geox.htm]

On one hand, Freud may be on to something, but the only thing I’m having difficulty with Freud’s fantasy-driven art is the realism and landscapes, which is where my question comes from.
Do realism and landscapes and other more “straight-forward” art still depict fantasies? Are there hidden dreams and wishes in there somewhere?

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