Jungian Art?

I’m fascinated by the recently published Red Book of CK Jung since I read this New York Times article, which is a unique, fabalistic account accompanied by drawings of Jung’s struggle with his unconsciousness. It happens to be the basis of Jungian thought, and shows Jung at his most unhinged, and perhaps transcendent. The drawing above is one that Jung did for the Red Book, which he used more as a journal, and is currently on view at the Rubin Museum of Art. The book has never been seen before. The museum describes the exhibition:

During the period in which he worked on this book Jung developed his principal theories of archetypes, collective unconscious, and the process of individuation. It is possibly the most influential unpublished work in the history of psychology. More than two-thirds of the large, red, leather-bound manuscript’s pages are filled with Jung’s brightly hued and striking graphic forms paired with his thoughts written in a beautiful, illuminated style. Jung was fascinated by the mandala—an artistic representation of the inner and outer cosmos used in Tibetan Buddhism to help practitioners reach enlightenment—and used mandala structures in a number of his own works.

A great post on Artopia runs wild with mandalas and Jung and Aboriginal art…I highly recommend you check it out. It ends by arguing that none of these are, in fact, art, but tools of spiritual devotion. This kind of argument would rule out a fair chunk of the Western canon as well. Why can’t it be art and be a spiritual tool? However, it’s hard to fault someone who has turned me on to a really exciting exhibition I could have missed–I’ll have to report back after I check it out for myself.

2 thoughts on “Jungian Art?

  1. It’s a different way of looking at things than ours. A few years ago I got to watch the creation of a sand mandala over a period of a week, followed by the ritual of brushing it all away. A haunting experience. Thank you for your article.

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