/ Lacan.com Lacanian Ink Events



objet a

Jack Tilton Gallery,
New York City, November 18/2007

[an excerpt from Josefina Ayerza's introduction]

  • Jack Tilton
  • Jack Tilton
  • Jack TIlton
  • Jack Tilton

"The objet a is not unseizable," says Jacques-Alain Miller in his article on Jacques Lacan's Seminar From an Other to the other, "objet a is captured especially in the fantasm - and it is denuded in perversion - there where surplus-jouir is unveiled in a naked form."

As far as structure is concerned the place to find this petit objet is certainly the fantasm, especially to the extent that the subject is not represented in it. Not a visualization of the sort that comes together awareness, the fantom image emerges when you are not expecting it and it vanishes after having produced its effect. The paradigmatic fantasm in Freud is of course "A Child is Being Beaten" when he foresees the situation where day dreams are used by the child to avoid the oedipal conflict by imagining himself to be adopted, to be really the child of a king and queen.

With Lacan the matter is always a question with the Other sex - since there isn't reciprocity, because the Other sex as such, for both, is the feminine sex. With him the hysterical loans her body to another woman. If the classical masculine fantasm is to fantasize with another woman while making love, also women fantasize with other men but they can go as far as to have this other man make love to another woman. That is to say that she offers her body as the body of somebody else. And this is a very hidden thing - her man, her husband doesn't know that each night he makes love to another woman.

Now this object as stand-in is the same as appears in the work of art. It is nevertheless worthwhile not to confuse art with fantasm, or to say that what the artist does is to picture some fantasm or other. The reason is that the work of art addresses itself to the eye, to the eye's hunger... and this the phantasm simply does not do.

More of a self-representation, the fantasm is something like a mirror image or the way you see yourself when you have an image of yourself in your mind. In Lacan a representation competes with the world of appearances and this is what art does not do.

Everyone knows that Plato had little sympathy for art and not simply because poets had tended to represent the gods performing actions which were not worthy of imitation. As Lacan stated, Plato objected to painting, not because painters gave an illusory equivalent of objects, but rather because they were competing with the world of ideas, of forms.