An exploration of drawing trace as reciprocity between self and life-world, with reference to my own drawing and selected works of Diane Victor.



The study postulates that drawing functions as a valuable vehicle that facilitates reciprocity between the drafter and her life-world. This relationship of exchange can bring about transformation of the self.

The study is a qualitative study that aims to establish an understanding of how drawing functions as a vehicle facilitating reciprocity between the drafter and her life-world.  In order to effectively research the transformative potential of reciprocity between artist, drawing, and life-world, theoretically and practically, the study is divided into two main parts. Firstly, it constitutes a theoretical section, which forms the foundation for further exploration in the second part of the study. Secondly, the study focuses on the practical manifestation of the theories as manifest in my drawings and in selected drawings of Diane Victor, whose work primarily functions as ‘a third person perspective’ in relation to my own work.

The study is rooted in a psycho-analytical framework, focusing on Self psychology and Intersubjective Psychoanalysis of personality psychologists such as Jung, Miller, Goldberg and McAdams, amongst others, as well as the writings of philosophers, art historians and drawing theorists such as Jacques Derrida, Catherine de Zegher, and SuziGablik.  Valuable links are forged between the transformative potential of drawing, the psychological and the spiritual.  Parallels are drawn between notions derived from self-psychology and theology, based on the premise that human beings constitute body (physical aspect), soul (mind and emotion) and spirit, three components that are hardly divisible and that work together in drawing, effecting the transformation of the self.  I argue that a failure to acknowledge the significance of the interactivity between these facets limits and inhibits the transformative potential of the drawing process.  Through interactivity between the self and her life-world through drawing, moments of ‘recognition’ and ‘knowing’ occur – concerning hidden ‘truths’ of the self, which could affect personal transformation.  In this study, life-world comprises inner and outer world, a visible and invisible world.  The visible world focuses on the interaction of the self with nature and culture, and the invisible world focuses on the interaction of the self with a psychic world, which includes the workings of the conscious and unconscious mind in drawing and their connection with a spiritual dimension.

The spiritual aspect in drawing is researched through the notions of transformative “presence” and the “transcendent function” of drawing.  The study explores the psychological and spiritual value of drawings as transformative selfobjects to address the general neglect of the spiritual.  I affirm that there exists a mutually conducive potential and influence that the interplay between the spiritual and the psychological in the drawing process bring about.  As a “selfobject”, a drawing attains its own ‘silent visual language’ replacing or assisting the role of the therapist, becoming pivotal in a transformative ‘interpersonal dialogue’.  Lastly, Jung (Miller, 2004:4) claims that the unification of the conscious and unconscious eventually results in “a living birth that leads to a new level of being, a new situation” (Miller, 2004:4).

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