The main aspect of my work is the exploration of the personal and the collective unconscious through art. To gain a deeper understanding of this world I approach it through the realm of dreams; by painting figurative dreamscapes or abstract dream-carpets; sometimes giving these a sculptural form. My aim is to incorporate the ways of the unconscious into my art processes, to build up a parallel world. During the course of transformation a new visual language is generated, having properties of its own. This is analogous to alchemy where from the source material (material prima) the healing Philosopher’s stone is created. I believe that this artistic method mirrors the individuation process.
Ever since C. G. Jung’s extensive unconscious-mapping work, it has been widely accepted that dreams are the utterance of the unconscious. Many people regard dreams as a negligible by-product of the psyche. But if we consider that almost the half of our lives is passed in a more or less unconscious state, it may encourage us to start discovering the realm of dreams.
In the past couple of years I have painted figurative dreamscapes, based on my own dreams. Immersion in dream analysis made it possible for me to see dream images and later every other image, from the perspective of dream analysis. This made me to develop a dream representation based method, making real images dreamlike by moving them from reality into the unconscious, oneiric realm; in an attempt of an authentic portrayal of the unconscious.
The dream-likeness is created by incorporating dream features into images such as symbols, overlapping layers, internal fragmentation, existing in a broken state, displacement, regression, transformation, lost logical connections, manipulated substantive content, reproduced logical connection, disordered heap of disconnected fragments…etc.
I concentrate on the collective unconscious as well as on the personal.
There are three different approaches I follow in depicting the unconscious realm:
The figures become fragmented, distorted or partially covered but they remain recognisable. The information is not lost, it is only transformed; hence the imagery is placed into the oneiric realm where primordial images are stored and arise from. This creates a specific visual language that takes existing works of art back to their source, to the unconscious level.
The need for a strong symbolic language – coming from dream analysis – was, what led me to delve into mythology, creation stories of humanity, to the representations of Biblical stories and to traditional tarot cards.
For the Humanoid series I chose the Renaissance art as a reference, which took as its foundation the art of Classical antiquity. The faceless Humanoids are body-and-soul combinations. The transmission of the widely known Renaissance images is perfectly in line with my ideas, reinforced by the fact that the Humanoid figures are remarkably similar to the Renaissance era’s human portrayal; especially on Michelangelo’s works where the cloak of his characters’ resembles that of the contours of the Humanoid figures.
The razor-cut figures are a metaphor for the lost information caused by fragmentation, although this loss is only visual, similar to a lack of understanding. When recalling a dream, all the pieces are there but the conscious mind struggles to put them together, symbols help to rebuild the image. This is why bringing back symbolic images from the Renaissance or from the Antiquity can touch us on a deeper level. We know the image (or at least have a feeling about it supported by the collective unconscious), we are aware of the connotation, it gets included in the work, transferred but not copied, carrying only its deeper meaning to represent the inner struggle of the psyche and accidental appearances of the unconscious.
We don’t even need to consciously recognise the process; it happens automatically even if one is unaware of it, as many of us are.
The Dream Carpets are sourced from my own dream sketches or were prompted by tarot cards. A dreamscape-carpet-like image is created where overlapping figurative elements are being broken up by additional colour layers which combine parts of separate figures, to create a new visual language. This resembles the way the unconscious generates dreams using the images of our memories and everyday life.
Copyright @ Szilvia Ponyiczki 2016-2021