A work of art has its own specific psychology

“The artist” says Carl Jung “is not a person endowed with free will who seeks her own ends, but one who allows art to realize its purpose through her”. 

I’ve been drawing a lot lately. It’s a bit disturbing, as I had promised myself to make a series of new paintings this spring. 

I do not think this process, the seemingly unsystematic probing, is something one can really understand before one start making one’s own art — but the thing is this: I cannot choose my art, art is something that comes to me, through me. That is: I can choose what to make in the sense that I start with an (often vague) idea and a set of materials & tools, but my making needs a soul of its own to become art. The idea and materials are nothing but the starting point of a strange, unpredictable process. 

“The work of art has its own specific psychology which is sometimes notably different from the psychology of the artist. Were it not so, the work of art would not be autonomous.” 

–Carl Jung

In these last weeks of drawing, I’ve rediscovered my love of loose line work, drawing mostly with my non-dominant hand, I feel almost as if I have become an accidental medium for my tools. It feels strange, and a bit unnerving, to notice my own lack of control. But as soon as I try to superimpose an idea or a plan, the work as art dwindles, dies away. 

So, I’ve retrieved my love of drawing, but where will it take me, this love? What am I to do with a studio full of more or less figurative sketches when my intention really is to develop my paintings in a more abstract direction?

“It makes no difference whether the artist knows that her work is generated, grows, and matures within her, or whether she imagines that it is her own invention. It really grows out of her, like a child its mother.” 

–Carl Jung

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