chapter  3
23 Pages

“Insighting” in psychoanalysis and art

Thus far we have considered imagination, as it relates to the self as agent, from the perspective of the inherent connection between perception, expectation, and affective valence as they, in turn, relate to fantasy. We have seen how, as in the extreme case of anosognosia, sensory input is mediated by the attribution of meaning. And we have seen how, as evidenced in the aesthetics of psychoanalysis and of art, representation is partly determined by its function — the managing of identity and the preservation and enhancement of self. Ernst Kris ( 1952 ) developed the notion of the centrality of ambiguity in art. His interest lay in the process whereby art is both communication and recreation and in the multiplicity of meanings to which the artistic endeavor and the reader/viewer’s response gives rise. Ambiguity calls forth, he noted, “the problem of the standards of interpretation” (p. 259), standards, I would argue, that extend from art to psychoanalysis in the comparability of insight attainable in each.