The Impact Of Sigmund Freud's Thesis On The Uncanny Essay On Art Culture

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In this essay I seek to explore the impact of Sigmund Freud’s thesis on the uncanny has had on art culture. I will be focusing on the surrealist movement, and artists such as, Hans Bellmer, Ron Mueck and Marc Quinn; I will discuss how they have investigated this idea throughout sculptured bodily forms. I will identify aspects of individual art works to understand how the uncanny body is presented in art.
Freud described the feeling of uncanny as ‘unheimlich’, translating to unhomely or unfamiliar. ‘An uncanny effect often arises when the boundary between fantasy and reality is blurred.’ Everybody has felt this at some point in their life, however I want to explore how contemporary art, film and photography can present ‘unheimlich’
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When experiencing the concept of the uncanny, you may encounter ‘A repressed memory/ experience now defined as fearful, re-emerges as something unfamiliar and thereby unsettling. Freud links repression to F.W.J Schellings description of the uncanny which was ‘something that should have remained hidden but has come into the open.’ This doesn’t necessarily have to be from the everyday, it could simply be from the imaginary. Television and film fictional tales or characters could cause ‘regressed infantile complexes.’ These repressed emotions of the unconscious can include, the double, robots or a focus of the eyes. An example of this would be ‘The Sandman’, a comic book series written by E.T.A Hoffman. It is a tale surrounding a robotic woman, Olympia, and The…show more content…
‘The Uncanny’ was an exhibition showcasing an exploration of the uncanny by means of memory, recollection, horror and anxiety. It also included Kelleys personal collection of objects. His sculptural skills came into play whilst creating realistic figurative ‘doppelgangers,’ the idea of the double interested Kelley as it creates a tension and disturbance of suspensions of the human figure between life and death. Gregor Schneider also relates to this idea of the double, as shown in his ‘Die Familie’ series, which presents almost identical photograph comparisons of everyday scenes; these are taken in two adjacent terraced houses in London Whitechapel. This almost identical quality brings an uncanny effect to the artwork, the unnerving experience of double is usually associated with good and bad. So, when looking at Die Familie, we subconsciously try to compare and evaluate which is which.
A common comparison of the uncanny is the fee (Fig. 1) A graph of the Uncanny Valley, according to Masahiro Mori Bladerunner is a film about automatons and being too close to human for comfort, artificial intelligence and such ‘waxwork figures, artificial dolls and automatons provokes primordial confusion about the (in)animate and the (non)human, but also recall and infantile anxiety about blindness, castration and death’ (Fig. 2) Mask II by Ron Mueck (2001)

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