04/15/2024, 21:18, Vienna  DEUTSCH / ENGLISH

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Foucault accused psychoanalysis that it yanks everything to light. The couch, on which nothing should be left unsaid, becomes thus the instrument of a disciplinary society in which no one has the right to something hidden, unspoken and secret anymore. Enlightenment is changed for screening, analysis used for spying.

The British psychoanalyst Josh Cohen, who in the book Lament cooperates with the photographer Bettina von Zwehl to save the shadows, has a similar fear. The exposure of the unconscious during analysis as well as that of the film must not slide into the totality of visibility and thus destroy the privacy. Can therefore, asks Cohen, a photograph protect the shadow of existence rather than illuminate it? Can analysis tolerate shadows? Can anything be said of the shadow, or will it always remain the negative of the language, the negative of the picture?

Four themes twist themselves around each other in the book Lament; two articles from Cohen and two photographic series of von Zwehl. The photo material was recently on display in the Freud Museum London, where the fifty always differently torn fragments (The Sessions) of an identical portrait of a young girl hung in the stairwell. The identical, as we see, is always different and it remains forever incomplete. Also incomplete are the fifteen silhouette portraits of women, whose faces are barely covered in enough light to let them be identified as individuals, but all other details remain in impenetrable shadows....

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