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Aesthetics and Psychoanalysis : Focusing on Lacan's Concepts of Pure Desire and Fundamental Fantasy

  • The Journal of Aesthetics and Science of Art
  • Abbr : JASA
  • 2011, 33(), pp.45-72
  • Publisher : 한국미학예술학회
  • Research Area : Arts and Kinesiology > Other Arts and Kinesiology
  • Published : June 30, 2011

CHO SEON RYEONG 1

1상명대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This essay is intended to research the relationship between psychoanalysis and aesthetics through Lacan's theory, especially focusing on his concepts of ‘pure desire’ and ‘fundamental fantasy’. Unlike Kant who regards desire as subjected to ‘Neigung’, Lacan suggests that desires in its pure instance, become ‘real’. In the real dimension, desire has no object, but exists as mere statement of “I desire…”. In the pursuit of absolute satisfaction, the pure desire reveals the instance of death drive, which has a special object, that is subject itself. Beneath the drive, Lacan finds the structure of fundamental fantasy in which subject is the desired object of desiring Other. The fundamental fantasy is that of man's own death, producing ‘jouissance’, or the pleasure beyond pleasure, which is essentially masochistic. This masochistic pleasure resides in the identifying mechanism to the absolute Other, who stands outside of the fantastic scene and watches all things including himself (herself). The pleasure of fantasy is brought about from the belief that subject can become the absolute Other and as Other, he can see his (her) own presence on the fantastic scene. Some aesthetical traditions such as Romanticism regarded fantasy as creative imagination. But Lacan objects to them, by insisting that fantasy is both symbolic and real. In the symbolic level, fantasy is subjected to the linguistic structure superior to subject. In the real level, it shows the real existence of jouissance. Lacan calls the moment when the structure of fantasy is revealed ‘traversing of fantasy’. The truth emerges and the encounter with the real takes place at the moment. According to Lacan, the truth is not a static entity, but the moment of its emerge. Lacan's truth is not from the certainty of the reason, but from that of jouissance. Lacan's four discourse theory shows that analytic experiences produce a new signifier without knowledge. ‘Subject’, who arrives at the instant of the traversing of fantasy, is the name of non-existence which cannot be represented by any langauge or image. As such, it is a real individuality that is no longer dependent to Other. Lacan's theory gives a clue to establish a new aesthetics which is not a low branch of philosophy. For he shows the significance of the field of pleasure and sensibility which guarantees individuality and particularity without plunging into the risk of relativism and skepticism.

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