Frida Kahlo: Self Portrait with Monkeys
12 March 2016
Spring Psychoanalytic Poetry Festival
Word & Image
Organised by The Freud Museum and The Poetry Society
In talks, readings, conversations and film screenings, speakers from the worlds of poetry, film and psychoanalysis explore the power of images in memory, imagination and poetry. How is an image re-rendered in a poem, and how might perception be influenced by the poet’s internal world?
Gerry Byrne on the transformational power of words and images in poetry and psychotherapy.
Valerie Sinason on the language of trauma and dissociation. (abstract)
Mark Solms on ‘The Mind of the Artist’. (abstract)
Eliza Kentridge, poet and artist, reading from and introducing Signs for an Exhibition, and in conversation with Mark Solms.
Poetry films selected by Zata Banks and introduced by the filmmakers. (Programme)
Maurice Riordan with a ‘poem on the couch’, conducting an in-depth analysis of a single poem, Santarém by Elizabeth Bishop. (abstract)
Pascale Petit on how imagery and images filter pain; exploring the creative dialogue she has developed with the work of Frida Kahlo. (abstract)
Gerry Byrne is a consultant nurse and child and adolescent psychotherapist, working in the NHS and privately in Oxford. He is clinical lead for the Family Assessment and Safeguarding Service (Oxon, Wilts and BaNES) and the Infant Parent Perinatal Service (Oxon). With two colleagues he runs the annual Children in Troubled Worlds conference which promotes the contributions psychoanalytic thinking and the arts can make to work with troubled children and with Janet Bolam, theatre director and writer, he runs Between the Lines - Writers and Psychotherapists in Conversation. www.bolamandbyrne.co.uk
Valerie Sinason is a poet, author, child and adult psychotherapist and adult psychoanalyst. She is Director of the Clinic for Dissociative Studies in London and Honorary Consultant Psychotherapist to the Cape Town Child Guidance Unit.
Mark Solms is Director of Neuropsychology at the University of Cape Town. He is a member of the British, American and South African Psychoanalytical Associations, and has won many awards, including the Sigourney Prize. He has published over 300 articles and six books. He is editor and translator of the forthcoming Revised Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud (24 vols) and the Complete Neuroscientific Works of Sigmund Freud (4 vols).
Eliza Kentridge was born in Johannesburg in 1962. She moved to England in the late 1980s and has lived in Essex for the past 25 years. She is an artist who works in many media, though she is primarily known for her stitched drawings and applique flags. Her literary leanings, evident since childhood, now result in her first book of poetry: Signs For An Exhibition
Maurice Riordan’s poetry collections include The Water Stealer (Faber, 2013) and The Holy Land(Faber, 2007). He has recently edited The Finest Music: Early Irish Lyrics (Faber, 2014). He is Professor of Poetry at Sheffield Hallam University and the editor of The Poetry Review.
Pascale Petit is a poet living in Cornwall. Her sixth collection Fauverie was shortlisted for the 2014 T S Eliot Prize, poems from it won the 2013 Manchester Poetry Prize. Her fifth collection What the Water Gave Me: Poems after Frida Kahlo was shortlisted for both the T S Eliot Prize and Wales Book of the Year, and was a Book of the Year in the Observer. Pascale has had four collections shortlisted for the T S Eliot Prize and chosen as Books of the Year in the Times Literary Supplement, Independent and Observer. She is the recipient of a Cholmondeley Award. Bloodaxe will publish her seventh collection Mama Amazonica in 2017.
PoetryFilm is the highly influential research art project founded by British artist Zata Banks in 2002, celebrating poetry films and other experimental text/image/sound material. Since 2002, PoetryFilm has presented over 70 events at venues including Tate Britain, ICA, FACT Liverpool, Cannes Film Festival, CCCB Barcelona, O Miami, The Royal College of Art, and Curzon Cinemas. Zata Banks has also judged poetry film prizes for the Southbank Centre in London, Zebra Festival in Berlin, and Carbon Culture Review in America. PoetryFilm is supported by Arts Council England, and is an accredited member of Film Hub London, part of the BFI Audience Network. The PoetryFilm Archive, which at present contains about a thousand artworks, welcomes submissions all year round.
Echoes (6 minutes, 35mm)
Artist: Jaimz Asmundson
A process-based, experimental film about loss, and the parallel between memory and the physical self: how it evolves, degrades and disintegrates. Structured around the recollection of a premonitory dream, fragmented memories from the period leading up to the death of the filmmaker’s mother were projected onto natural textures and surfaces, re-photographed, composited and processed until the memories became abstracted representations of the evolution, degradation and disintegration of memory and the physical self.
Three Mirrors (20 minutes, 16mm)
Artist: Diana Mavroleon
Shot in the mid-1980s, the film was written using automatic writing to explore the unconscious mind, using mirrors as in-gates. Three Mirrors was made just down the hill from the Freud Museum at Cinema Action in Winchester Rd, and was used for discussion in R.D. Laing’s department of Psychology, in the “Dream Workshop” on Eton Avenue. The film received a 'Composer's Commission' from GLAA, and features an original score by a now very famous British composer, Gary Carpenter.
You Be Mother (6 minutes, 16mm)
Artist: Sarah Pucill
You Be Mother uses stop-frame animation to disrupt the traditional orders of animate and inanimate, the fluid and the solid. An hallucinatory space is set up when a frozen image of the artist’s face is projected onto weighty pieces of crockery atop a table. Ears, eyes, nose and mouth all become spatially dislocated as a determined hand begins to reposition, decant and mix. Events unfold to the amplified sounds of grinding, pouring and stirring.
Palindrome (2 minutes, 8mm)
Artist: Zata Banks
Male and female move towards the centre.
Poetry and Psychoanalysis
Psychoanalysis and creativity both seek truth and transformation and have a long and complex history. Freud, as a fine writer, brought in both his appreciation of and ambivalence for the poet who, he felt, could delve deeper than the analyst, but not understand what s/he had brought to the surface. He also considered art of any kind could only work if the primary narcissism of the artist was adequately concealed. As a psychoanalyst and poet who loves language Valerie Sinason provides examples of this from her own work as well as that by others and also shows how the literal can sometimes be denigrated in favour of the symbolic
The Mind of the Artist
Freud famously declared that artists retain their infantile fantasies to an unusual degree. In effect, he argued that they are more narcissistic and less reconciled to reality than non-artists. Does this theory hold water? Psychoanalyst MARK SOLMS will address the question in dialogue with poet and artist ELIZA KENTRIDGE, using her as a sort of ‘case example’.
Remembering it Wrong
Santarém is one of Bishop's exact, vivid, and most suggestively visual poems. Yet, she begins 'Of course I may be remembering it all wrong'. What is a reader, or indeed a therapist, to make of such an insouciant disclaimer? Could such slipperiness be hiding anything? A scrupulous interrogation of the poem may unmask some surprising secrets.
From Pain to Paint
In this presentation I will talk about how images can transform trauma. I will discuss image-making from my own autobiography, illustrating this with poems from The Zoo Father and Fauverie, and how the animal imagery filters the pain. I will also show how I have explored trauma through the exuberant but harrowing art of Frida Kahlo, in my collection What the Water Gave Me: Poems after Frida Kahlo, and how working with her images and story allowed me the freedom to explore my own difficult subjects in poems.