The Unconscious Attitude Toward Art Essay

The Unconscious Attitude Toward Art Essay

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According to Freud, most of us have unconscious desires and attitudes which we bury deep within ourselves. Our conscious mind is only the tip of the iceberg, while the unconscious mind is the part that lies below the surface which contains our hidden fears and desires. Most of us are blinded and ignorant of our true intentions because they are shoved down to the unconscious where it is hard to retrieve them back. Therefore, Winterson is accurate to point out that our unconscious attitude towards art is complex.

Since our unconscious holds all the memories and past experiences that have been repressed through trauma, it plays an important role in how we react towards art or even in everyday life. The unconscious forms our beliefs, our habits, and our behaviors through these memories and experiences. Winterson argues that our unconscious attitude towards art is complex. By this, she means that our reaction towards art, and almost everything else, is more than either just black or white, it is gray. She means that our attitude has many levels, and on some level we might like it for what it stands, while we might hate it on some other level for what it evokes in you. In her essay, Winterson says, “We want it and we don’t want it,” after she claims that our unconscious attitude to art is complex. This proves that art evokes more than just one emotion at a time. Art brings out many memories and experiences and combines them to form a complex reaction consisting of opposing emotions. We somehow feel both happiness and sadness for example because art has the power to evoke more than one emotion. One example would be the Stranger. The Stranger’s main character, Mersault, makes you want to hate him, yet at the same time you are able to ...


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... to an average human might look like white paint with a little bit of texture (refer to Figure 1.1). However, it is later revealed that he buys the painting because his mother was physically abused during his childhood by his dad, and he used to stare at a white wall (refer to Figure 1.2) whenever his mother was abused. So for him, the painting brought back many memories and fears that he probably repressed for many years. Similarly, each painting, each book, and each piece of art tells a different story; not everyone is capable of perceiving it, or even recognizing the fact that it is telling something, but there is always at least one person whom the art speaks out to because the unconscious has so much material that something is bound to come up. Therefore, the unconscious attitude is hard to understand, as it is personal, unique, and as Winterson put it, complex.

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