The work presented here is in the course of completion. If the artist considers that he has expressed what he was aiming to express to the full, it stands to reason that there is no need to dwell on the psychic stresses of his individual life. Continuing with iterations of the same work would be more characteristic of craft work (perpetuating know-how and expertise) than of art, insofar as the latter is conceived as being the labour of search and proposal. "Inspiration" can only last if it is nourished by the vital motivations due to lack of identity.

Narcissism, the last theoretical stress, can be used to illustrate the existence of this lack of identity. Contrary to contemporary interpretation, narcissism is not the state of self-love but a state in which the person suffers from lack of self-confidence and holds no more than an average opinion of his own worth.

If maturity is to be achieved, the psyche needs to symbolize the transcending     reason for acting by who one is and what one does.  That is only possible with some experience of life, and while this experience is being acquired a person has only partial insight into his identity, his worth and place in society. The interest that the narcissist has in himself is due his lack of confidence.  This feeling of dissatisfaction can continue on into adult life and drive the person to strong yearnings to have his value recognized by others through what he does. This search for a more visible identity extends to the artist.

When we claim we are talking about human nature, we need to try to disassociate from our own interests to offer a more convincing, and thus more objective account. In this instance, abstraction was thus called for and was made possible by this reference to narcissism. Furthermore as it is external to this situation it can symbolize the fact that want and tension endow our behaviour with a transcending goal.

June 1997
 

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