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Joseph Kosuth in Lacan, The Exhibition: When Art Meets Psychoanalysis

The ideas of Jacques Lacan are, alongside the work of Roland Barthes, Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida and Gilles Deleuze, essential for understanding our modernity. While homages and exhibitions have already been dedicated to these intellectual figures, the thought of Lacan has not been dealt with in museums to date, even though he was strongly attached to works of art.

Lacan was closely involved with 20th-century art and artists, and in his teaching never ceased to draw on the art of all times. His discourse on art has been as fresh as it has been unusual, holding back, intriguing and provoking many contemporary artists. He has interpreted artworks not just as powers that give us something to see, but as dazzling objects that look back at the viewer. In devoting an exhibition to Jacques Lacan, we wanted to surround his fascinating figure with a multitude of such gazes.

All this is far removed from a psychoanalytical interpretation of artists. The psychoanalyst is quite the opposite of a master: he or she is a student of art, docile to art's original truths, and aiming to decipher the previously unsuspected knowledge it contains. That is why this exhibition is not only a homage to psychoanalysis: it also celebrates what remains behind, after all elucidation, of the mystery of art. Lacan, at the end of his life, saw things no differently.

Lacan opened up an innovative space that is at the heart of our modernity and of our contemporary experience. Today we are debating issues of sex, love, identity, gender, power, belief or disbelief, all questions for which the psychoanalyst provided precious reference points.