Art's Hidden Order: Ehrenzweig Conference

September 27th - 29th 1996. Centre for Psychotherapeutic Studies, University of Sheffield.

Since Anton Ehrenzweig's death the influence of his controversial ideas about the relation between psychoanalytic theory, the deep structures of unconscious thought and the inarticulate form that is found in both music and abstract painting has percolated through a wide range of fields: art history, art education, music and psychoanalysis itself. But there has not been any major attempt to take stock of this influence or of the legacy of his thought. This conference will bring together for the first time members of Ehrenzweig's family, the ex-students and colleagues, artists, musicians and other Ehrenzweig enthusiasts in a unique and intimate homage to his qualities as a teacher, the boldness of his intellect and, above all, his respect for the artist's achievement. It is not only a recognition of what he accomplished; it will also explore how his ideas can be taken forward creatively. Papers cover the following range of topics, and there will be the time and space available to hear them all:

Prof. Michael Podro will talk on 'Ehrenzweig, Milner & Winnicott', linking Ehrenzweig to other psychoanalytic writers with a comparable empathy for art.

Alan Davie, the well-known artist (and musician) will give a talk in the Mappin Gallery, 'Towards An Anatomy of Creativity' based on his own experience as well as Ehrenzweig's ideas.

David Barton, who was a student of Ehrenzweig's, will give an account of his original and controversial teaching methods.

David Maclagan, in 'From Inarticulate Form to the Symbolic Order', will explore Ehrenzweig's ambivalent attitude towards inarticulate form and relate it to both Lacan's and Guattari's theories about the relation between informal marks and codes or symbolic orders.

Simon Bell, in 'The Fertile Motif & Art Therapy with the Dying' will talk about the application of some of Ehrenzweig's ideas to his practice.

Vincent Keter, an artist, will talk about 'The Hidden Order of Colour' and new approaches to the phenomenology of colour perception.

Stephen Newton, an artist who is writing a PhD study on Ehrenzweig, will talk about 'The Spiritual Structure of Creativity' and the crucial challenge to orthodox psychoanalytic thinking posed by abstract art.

Judith Healey (USA) will talk on 'Imaging, Imagining & Magic', in which she will link Ehrenzweig's ideas to rethinking the relation between Primary and Secondary thinking in the creative process.

Dick Tahta will talk on 'The Hidden Order of Mathematics' in which he will examine the light shed by Ehrenzweig's ideas on the nature of mathematical intelligence, as well as art.

Rosemary Dunn, a classical musician, in 'Syncretic Thought & the Composition of Music: from the Drive to the Product' will question conventional assumptions about the special nature of artistic creativity, drawing on Ehrenzweig's ideas.

Mette Thorsen (Denmark) will give a paper based on her recently published book 'Death Postponed', in which she applies Ehrenzweig's concept of inarticulate form to a pre-eminently classical work: Racine's 'Phedre'.

The deadline for booking this conference is 12 September 1996.

For further information contact: Jane Allen-Brown, Centre for Psychotherapeutic Studies, 16 Claremont Crescent, Sheffield S10 2TA. Tel: (0114) 282 4975 or 282 4970 E-mail: