Jan Sieber 

Philosophy/ Art History, Berlin

Contact Details

Jan Sieber
Department of Design
University of the Arts (UdK), Berlin

Homepage: udk-berlin.academia.edu/JanSieber

Biographical Note

Jan Sieber studied cultural studies, philosophy and art theory in Bremen, Lüneburg and London (M.A. 2011). Currently he is a research assistant and PhD candidate at the University of the Arts (UdK) Berlin. He also is cofounder and coeditor of the international journal Anthropology&Materialism. Main research interests: Critical Theory and Psychoanalysis, Walter Benjamin and Theodor. W. Adorno, psychoanalytic theories of Freud and Lacan, aesthetics, history of modern art, surrealism

Surrealist Painting and "the Navel of the Dream"

Like no other artistic movement before, surrealism developed a radical critique of the idea of the autonomy of the aesthetic subject and thereby of the phantasm of a self-transparant subject in general. It revealed the power of the image to deceive the subject, and at the same time insisted on its epistemological potential to let the subject experience the real void beyond the tenous fassade of his perception of reality. Like for Freud, the dream presented for the surrealists the "royal road" to the unconscious. But whereas Breton in 1924 demanded to detect the "real process of thinking" through the dream, this was later problematised by surrealist painters. They, maybe more than the surrealist poets, were confronted with the problem that at the "navel of the dream" something resists, that the allegedly purest thinking can deceive itself. This critical aspect of surrealist painting, the interpretation of reality as a dream and the inaccessibility of the real of the dream, will be main focus of this project. Especially this will be shown on the basis of works of Max Ernst, Antonin Artaud and Salvador Dali.