The Nazification of Psychoanalysis: Velasquez and the Transmission of Power – By Jonathan Sklar

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Psychoanalysis and Politics

07 October 2020

Time: 18:00 - 19:30

Price: £28

Location: online


Part of the Psychoanalysis and Politics digital series Crises and Transmission

This paper will examine Velasquez’ painting Las Meninas from the perspective of a fracture of the transmission of the authority of Kingship in Spain at that time. Alongside I describe the Nazi takeover of the Berlin Psychoanalytic Society, perverting the training and fracturing post-war psychoanalytic transmission.
In the early 1990’s Anne-Marie Sandler was invited to visit the German Psychoanalytic Society (DPG) in its various branches in Germany to help them repair their disconnection from the International Psychoanalytic Association (IPA).
Mrs Sandler began to realise that her failure to understand and to speak German, one of her two mother tongues, was enveloped in her separating herself from Nazi Germany and antisemitism. By overcoming her unconscious resistances she became the authority to effect a re-connecting of the lost transmission.
Great art can bring to mind important unconscious emotional issues in the observer. The fact that a small number of paintings are re-imagined by later artists attest to certain powers that are contained in the original. Picasso re-envisioned Las Meninas, linking a fracture in power to Franco and the Spanish civil war.
The paper is a metaphor for our fractured pandemic times as totalitarian politics and lies sever transmission of just, caring, and civilised societies.

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