Image: ‘Venus Rising’
Everyone carries a shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is.”
C.G. Jung, 1938.
Envisioning Jung’s theory of the shadow. Solo exhibition of work in progress, at University of Central Lancashire, Victoria Building, PR1 2HE, UK. Throughout May 2018.
Through his study of the unconscious, the psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Carl Gustav Jung defined the shadow as the unknown, dark side of personality: part of the unconscious mind consisting of repressed weaknesses, perceived shortcomings, as well as instincts, and many creative impulses. He considered that the shadow side can be positive or negative, and prone to psychological projection, where people may see their own insecurities as flaws in others. Jung believed these projections can both protect and damage individuals by acting as a constantly thickening veil of illusion between the ego and the real world. Some Jungians maintain that the shadow also holds the shadow of society, fed by neglected and repressed collective values.
Exhibition views: a timeline, looking forward and back…
I interpreted found portraits, in this case from late 1940’s fashion publications, and their vintage aesthetic as links to past lives, including to experiences of war and the period of optimism and creativity that followed. Using Photoshop technique, I have added and altered, to juxtapose time in surreal, seamless montage. I drew on other Jungian archetypes as well as the shadow, such as: ‘the apocalypse’, ‘heroine’, ‘trickster’, ‘mother’, ‘maiden’. Jung suggested that archetypes are inherited potentials: universal patterns, or models of people, behaviour, personality, the can be triggered within the psyche.
Envisioning the ambiguous presence of the shadow side, opens up perceptions of its existence not just within individuals, but on an exponential scale within contemporary cultural phenomena. Social media, News, Big Data, surveillance, democracy, globalisation, consumerism, are dynamic, mass channels where the collective unconscious is both active and susceptible.