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On the need to distinguish between the structural and functional aspects of the psychology of art ...
The psychology of art is a complex subject and this description serves only as an introduction to a "developing" field of study. Psychology is the basis for many aspects of life and art or art expression in any form and especially through sculpture and painting also based on psychological theories and understanding. The relationship between psychology and art is almost inevitable; there can be no art without psychology and vice versa. The artist begins with a blank canvas on which he / she projects his / her own psychological being and art remains as such a projection medium. Thus, art can best be defined as a medium through which an artist or creative individual projects their feelings and frustrations and deeper psychological necessities. In this way, art is intricately linked to psychology. Yet the psychology of art as a formal discipline has not found widespread recognition and has recently gained popularity at Western universities.
The psychology of art, however, is a fascinating field of study because it analyzes the essence of creativity and provides an explanation of the artist's mental processes in particular and the creative individual in general. But it is interesting that psychology of art is not only limited to understanding the artist's mental processes but also the mental processes involved in perceiving art. Thus, a psychology of art provides an explanation and understanding of the phenomena of creativity, the artist's mental processes as well as the processes of thought. It is comprehensive in its strategy, not only because of its explanatory range, but also because art psychology involves explanations from various branches of psychology, such as gestalt psychology of perception, psychology of form and function / order and complexity, Jungian psychoanalysis, psychology of attention and experimental psychology. as well as Freudian symbolism.
The psychology of art is interdisciplinary, with successfully integrated art, architecture, philosophy (metaphysics and phenomenology), aesthetics, the study of consciousness, visual perception and psychoanalysis. From philosopher John Dewey to psychoanalyst Carl Gustav Jung, intellectuals in the 1900s influenced the emergence of a psychology of art that seemed to have gone beyond the artist's sensory processes to include the creation process and its conception that examines art from biological, social, psychological and philosophical perspectives. Dewey and Jung both influenced the study of art in social and cultural contexts and are largely responsible for understanding art in its present form.
Art is obviously a creative process and is thus also a deep psychological process. Art can well be explained by the theory of perception and as a cognitive process. The Gestalt theory of visual perception would offer one of the foremost explanations of art creation and perception. Gestalt theorists were psychologists of the 20th century who systematically studied perceptual processes in humans and some of the famous gestaltists were Wolfgang Köhler, Kurt Koffka, Max Wertheimer and Kurt Lewin. The principles of perception given in Gestalt psychology focused on proximity or coherence, equality, continuity, closure, area / symmetry and figure and ground.
Thus, Gestalists described the notion as a process that involved not only the object but also the context in which the perception of objects is influenced by what surrounds these objects so for Gestalists, things are always "more than the sum of their parts". Since art is also primarily about perception, our perception of all art objects would also depend on these Gestalt principles and we tend to see continuity or closure or even perceive movement in static objects. Gestalt psychology has been widely used to describe and understand "visual illusions". For example, objects that are located closer to each other will be perceived as a group. If you have seen any of these pictures that explain the principles of Gestalt, you will quickly understand that there is more to art than simple brush strokes; Art is as much a process of perception (including illusion) as it is a process of creation. If an artist successfully creates a visual illusion, he is almost like a magician. Still, art has several dimensions in its study and explanation and from the Gestalt understanding of form and structure that provides a & # 39; structural & # 39; explanation of the organization's principles of art, we must also understand the & # 39; functional & # 39; the properties of art. This, in turn, is provided by psychoanalysis and symbolism.
In the early 1900s, Sigmund Freud pioneered the study of art in its psychoanalytic form by viewing the artist as essentially a neurotic who copes with his psychological pressures and conflicts through his creative impulses. Freud was interested in the "content" or subject of the art that reflected the artist's and the artist's inner conflicts and repressed desires for Freud, for every psychoanalyst today is considered an essential projection of the artist's mind and thought process. Freud believed that unconscious desires and fantasies of the artist make way from the inside and are manifested as the outer on canvas through art. So if an artist fantasizes about beautiful virtuous women, he paints angels in heaven as a kind of & # 39; sublimation & # 39; of their deeper desire. Thus, all works of art are directly related to the artist's inner world and his unconscious regions of mind.
An art school that was directly influenced by Freudian theory and directly manifests the unconscious is Surrealism that began in the early 1900s, initially as an extension of a cultural movement, Dadaism. Surrealism emphasizes the integration of art and life and with psychoanalytic influence focuses on the unconscious desires. From Jacques Lacan's psychology to Hegel's philosophy, Surrealism was largely shaped by philosophy, psychology and cultural change and has been one of the most revolutionary movements in art history.
Some of its famous advocates were André Breton and more recently Salvador Dali. In fact, Dali's work could be seen as almost a visual representation of Freud's emphasis on dream analysis, unconscious desires as well as hallucinations and free association. Sexual symbolism, an important part of Freudian analysis, has been widely used by surrealists. Freud and surrealism marked a closer link between madness, sexuality and art, but this type of portrait also met some resistance. On the other hand, Carl Jung's psychoanalysis and emphasis on art as a form of cultural expression was more acceptable to some artists and Jung remains as the most influential psychoanalyst in art history with his optimistic and constructive portrayal of art. According to Jung, art and other forms of creative endeavor could gain access to the "collective unconscious" and provide significant insights on not only the creative process but also the cultural elements of the mind that are transported across generations. In Jungian psychology, art as a psychological process would be an assimilation of the artist's cultural experiences so that it is accessible to a larger society.
Thus, psychology of art as it develops into an important discipline and field of study can be considered to have two distinct branches -
o Structural Psychology of Art - that emphasizes the "structural" aspects of perceiving art through form, organization understood by Gestalt principles and general emphasis on structure, including the principles of physiology and visual perception
o Functional psychology of art - that which emphasizes art as a creative process that represents the artist's & # 39; functional & # 39; aspects or mental dynamics, the content rather than the form and could be understood with the insights of psychoanalysis and phenomenology.
The structural branch mainly relates to the perceiver and the process of art perception and the functional branch relates to the artist and the process of creating art. Both of these dimensions would be equally important and complement each other in a comprehensive conceptual psychology of art.