Archive for Carl Gustav Jung

What Lies Beneath the Creative Activity: A Hollow Study of the Realm of Unconscious

Posted in art and psychology with tags , , , , , on March 9, 2010 by artodisiac

I will be diving deep to the studies of unconscious and behaviours lying under the creative activity for my VIS512 paper, here is the abstract of it…

Ebru Sürek

Istanbul, 08.03.2010

Abstract: It seems that there lies a strict distinction between what is perceived as real and virtual for the most in our modern world. However, as imagination pulled the trigger, the reality started to be questioned in time and that was probably the point where the progress started. Playing with perceptions and reality using a bit of imagination changed a lot throughout history. Do the names like Galileo, Archimedes, Edison ring a bell? There is, in fact, no need to go back that far. The first few decades of the twentieth century for example, saw a great deal of experimentation that dived deep into the imaginative world of literature, music, visual arts and psychology. Writers and musicians tried to go out of the strict borders of representational conventions, artists seemed to explore unconscious and depicted inner experiences, dreams, visions and fantasies. From automatic drawings of surrealist artists, gothic works of writers such as Gustav Meyrink and miraculous tunes of an untouchable instrument invented by Leon Theremin, a close proximity can be realized with the researches of psychologists who were engaged in similar explorations.

The purpose of this study is to examine the psychological motives lying behind the creation of artistic works. For this aim, a number of pioneering studies will be studied to focus on the behaviours of artists during their creative activities.

The main reference of this study will be one of the most important figures of psychology, Carl Gustav Jung. The first part will provide an introductory framework to the analysis of psyche of the artist through Jung’s world famous dream analysis. Jung will further be cited in this part through his studies concentrating on unconscious and the translation of dream symbolism into works of art.

The second part of the study will provide other related studies on some projective tests (i.e Rorschach, TAT (Thematic Apperception Test), Koch’s Tree Test, etc.) that are used to analyze behaviours of artists.

Every individual can use art to bring forward messages from his or her own personal unconscious. But as Jung puts forward, the vital role of the artist is to help us see the messages that emanate from the collective unconscious. He claims that the artist seizes the image in his unconscious, brings it into relation with conscious values, thereby transforming it until it can be accepted by the minds of his contemporaries according to their powers.

At this point, some examples from Turkish artists will be given to finalize the study. A broad range of art works from painting to literature will be analyzed in the light of the conceptual tools covered in this study. Together with the theoretical analysis, a couple of interviews and projective tests will also be provided so as to have a more comprehensive and interpretive look at the psychological motives lying behind the creation of artistic works.

Keywords: Psyche, arts and psychology, unconscious, projective tests for artists, dream analysis, Carl Gustav Jung, Leon Theremin

I’ve lost touch with my soul

Posted in art, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on December 16, 2009 by artodisiac



‘As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of

human existence is to kindle a light in the

darkness of mere being’

Carl Gustav Jung

I had the weirdest dream ever last night. The last couple of weeks I was rushing from one place to the other, trying to do lots at the same time yet not being satisfied from anything I do with my split mind. For example I was desperately trying to find a project to work on for one of my grad classes and I was really stuck. Suddenly I realized quiet painfully that I had lost the contact with my soul somewhere in the cacaphony. Thanks god, the catalyst I needed came quick, with this dream.  After a stressfull and tiring day, I experienced a weird moment in the lucid period  just before falling asleep. It is hard to explain and I really don’t want to mention it here, since it was a bit disturbing for me. It was quiet real and the reality of it made me remember every detail when I woke up. The day after, I found myself reading and refering to one of my favourite psychologists of all times, Carl Gustav Jung. And an idea just flashed in my head when I read about the ‘Red Book’ that was released very recently this year, 48 years after he died. Why do I not try doing my own version of  ‘Red Book’, I asked to myself…


Carl Gustav Jung


Before giving some more information about the new book, I would like to make a very brief introduction for him. Carl Jung was a Swiss psychiatrist and founder of so called analytical psychology. His unique and broadly influential approach to psychology has emphasized understanding the psyche through exploring the worlds of dreams, art, mythology, world religion and philosophy. Although he was a theoretical psychologist and clinician for most of his life, much of his life’s work was spent exploring other realms, including Eastern and Western philosophy, alchemy, astrology, sociology, as well as literature and the arts. Jung emphasized the importance of balance and harmony. He cautioned that modern humans rely too heavily on science and logic and would benefit from integrating spirituality and appreciation of the unconscious realm. Carl Jung was also among many great personality theorists who drew inspiration and guidance from the ancient Greek Four Temperaments model and its various interpretations over the centuries. Carl Jung’s key book in this regard, which extended and explained his theories about personality types, was Psychological Types, published in 1921.

The Red Book

The Red Book is a nearly 100-year-old book, bound in red leather, which has spent the last quarter century secreted away in a bank vault in Switzerland. It is big and heavy and its spine is etched with gold letters that say “Liber Novus,” which is Latin for “New Book.” Its pages are made from thick cream-colored parchment and filled with paintings of otherworldly creatures and handwritten dialogues with gods and devils. As written by Sara Corbett in the New York Times magazine, between the book’s heavy covers a very modern story unfolds. It goes as follows: Man skids into midlife and loses his soul. Man goes looking for soul. After a lot of instructive hardship and adventure — taking place entirely in his head — he finds it again.

Apart from its intrinsic interest, it is a magnificent work of art (the original is on show at the Rubin Museum in New York). Written in German Gothic script, with an English translation, it is illustrated with tempera paintings by Jung which reveal him to be a gifted, if sometimes frightening, artist. Jung spent from 1914 to 1930 working on the book, which he felt had emerged from his “confrontation with the unconscious”. There is no final text, only an unfinished manuscript corpus. Yet it enables the reader to gain a window into the genesis of Jung’s psychology in a way that none of his published works has done. He develops his theory of “individuation”: that is, how personality develops over time and how an individual is split between the “I” (conscious existence) and the “self” (total personality including the unconscious mind). Jung came to believe that he had lost touch with his “soul”, that he had sacrificed it to science. “The Red Book” shows, in literary and symbolic form, his own process of individuation.

I also will try to confront with my unconscious and try to create my own version of the ‘Red Book’ for my project. I hope I can manage to finish it in one piece and not get further lost.

(An update: I have bought a copy of this famous Red Book, which costed me a little treasure (that I didn’t care evenif I had to starve for the rest of the month) and witnessed what a great piece of art it is. I think there is no way one can come nearer to it…)