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Evocative object

We may also regard the object in my painting as the evocative object, it is a term refer to a high psychic value that “touches us on a deep level and sets inner creative process in motion” (Bollas 2012, XX). The evocative object could be a person, a landscape, a poem or a painting, by evoking the memory of the past through aesthetic activities, the subject dissolved, and the meaning inhabited in the object and atmosphere. The evocative objects emphasizes the unconscious thoughts encounter with objects. The object, becomes a trigger that makes the unconscious possible.

There are six ways that an object can evoke unconscious thought, “An object presents itself as sensible, as structured with a certain atomic specificity, as memorable, as related to certain concepts and signifiers, and as a transient container for projections” (Scalia 2002, 16). From this point of view, I recall a visit to the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin, which led me to use the image of concrete slabs for a long time to present the claustrophobia in my paintings (see following picture). This open site creates a place of remembrance and claustrophobic by using 2711 concrete slabs of different heights. One may lose himself in it, and these huge, silent concrete slabs may evoke one’s dark experiences and negative emotions. In this case, the concrete slabs had already been mentally signified because is associate with a dark period or a personal experience. The concrete slabs as evocative objects associated with my experience in Berlin, and it implies a special meaning in my painting.

The unconscious, according to Bollas, thus becomes an activity evoked by the evocative objects, and its meaning is implied by the notion of the evocative object (Scalia 2002, 10).The meaning emerges from an encounter between the evocative objects and the unconscious that is affected in one’s experience of a place, a house, a person, a painting, things and thought. It is not just a repressed affection claimed by Freud, but a universal capacity to perceive and interpret the world.


Bollas, C. (2012). The christopher bollas reader: Routledge.

Scalia, J. (2002). The vitality of objects: Exploring the work of Christopher Bollas: Sage.

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