The Foundation for Art and Psychoanalysis is a non-profit association that seeks to foster cultural and artistic exchanges and projects that promote psychoanalysis through seminars, events, cooperative partnerships, publications and other projects.

By “psychoanalysis,” we mean the field established by Sigmund Freud at the turn of the nineteenth to the twentieth century, when he became interested in a dimension of human experience that had previously gone unnoticed: the dynamic unconscious. Jacques Lacan described this unconscious as being “structured like a language”; its most subversive effect is to dispossess humans of the illusion that they have any conscious mastery of their lot.

What Freud discovered and called the “unconscious” is a novel form of knowledge, an unwitting knowledge. If the Freudian subject is no longer master in its own house, it nonetheless inherits the knowledge of what is most singular in its desire. Deciphering this knowledge requires the specific structure of psychoanalytic treatment. As Lacan stated, following on Freud, this knowledge is as opposed to the discourse of science as it is to that of religion. On the one hand, religion strives to promote a universal solution that can spare individuals the effort of inventing singular responses to the discomfort of their condition; on the other, science, in its quest for an exactness that rejects all exceptions, strives for knowledge that is equally valid for all. In other words, in religion, the subject is cut off from their singular solutions for the sake of a “universal neurosis,” while in science, it is reduced to its natural conditions, and is thereby excluded as subject (of language). This is where the field opened up by Freud rejoins the discourse of science: by reintroducing (within the plurality of knowledge) the question of the subject that is systematically excluded by the method of scientific reasoning, psychoanalysis reveals both the place where it is bound to science and its own field, which is radically exterior to science.

Two propositions concerning Freud’s discovery ensue from this exploration of the links between science and psychoanalysis. First, the unconscious is history: in ridding itself of its gods and of all the ontologies rendered null and void by the discourse of science, the modern subject, unlike the subject in premodern societies, now must invent singular solutions that serve to avert the encounter with the horror of the real (of castration, of lack, of the emptiness of origins). For that reason — and this is the second proposition — the unconscious  [furthermore] is political: not only because echoes of civilization resound through it, but also because the social dimension of communal life is sustained and renewed though the formations of the unconscious (symptoms, bungled actions, etc.).

Psychoanalysis, which functions to collect the productions of this unconscious, here reveals the extent to which it also opens up a new form of social bond: it provides the subject with a discourse that can allow connections to others and to knowledge to be sustained, while also confronting us with the real that constitutes us, but which cannot be grasped or understood. Such a discourse lacks the glimmerings of religion and the illusions of wholeness conveyed by the ultimate manifestation of the discourse of science, the capitalist discourse.

Psychoanalysis is certainly not the only means of assuaging the encounter with the real; art provides another path. Freud had great esteem for the artist’s work, which he readily spoke of as being the precursor of psychoanalysis. He argued that artists, who find singular ways of sublimation, are not only “far in advance of us everyday people” but also “draw upon sources” that psychoanalysis has yet to explore. We have known since Freud that, like psychoanalysts, artists instruct us about the discontents of civilization, the state of the social bond, and even the ways in which subjectivity is altered by its epoch. Lacan’s return to Freud took this a step further: he detected in artistic creation the essential coordinates of the act whereby subjects come to wrench themselves free from all their determinants.

This crossroads where politics and the question of the act meet is precisely the place where the Foundation for Art and Psychoanalysis finds its intended purpose: to foster cultural and artistic exchanges and projects that seek to promote psychoanalysis through seminars, events, cooperative partnerships, publications and other projects.

Authors

Camille Germanos Al Hasan

Dina Germanos Besson

Thierry Lamote

Translated from the French by John Holland

Professional freelance translator, Ph.D. in English from Princeton University (USA) and DEA (MA level) in psychoanalysis from University of Paris 8 (France).

Members and Board of Directors of the Foundation:

  • Camille Germanos Al Hasan (Member, Director)Director of “House Of Publications”, Political analyst, with Masters degrees in comparative research in development from the EHESS (School of Advanced Studies in Social Sciences, France) and in aesthetic philosophy and psychoanalysis from Paul Valéry University, Montpellier III (France).
  • Dina Germanos Besson (Member)Psychoanalyst, Clinical psychologist, doctor (PHD) in clinical psychopathology at the LCPI (Clinical Laboratory on Psychopathology and the Intercultural), University of Toulouse-Jean Jaurès (France).
  • Fedja Klikovac (Member, Director) Curator, Director of Handel Street Projects
  • Tarek Al Hasan (Member, Director)
  • Thierry Lamote (Member)Lecturer at the University Paris-Diderot, Clinical psychologist, doctorate in fundamental psychopathology and psychoanalysis from the University of Toulouse-Jean Jaurès (France).