April 21st, 2020
An early exercise in The Self Portrait Experience (SPEX) workshop with Cristina Nuñez. I am six weeks in to lock down due to Covid and in this moment I am angry. There is no covid within 70 kms of us. I have kept myself together by establishing a daily routine that gets me from 6 am to midnight. Occasionally, in moments like this I lose it. A trigger was talking with tutor Paul Clements today and considering the work of Francis Bacon. In particular looked at some essays by David Syvestor which got me to look again at Bacon. Then I thought wow how that captures how I feel.
The middle image captures how I felt this afternoon. Bacon’s images represent many of the words I might use for myself – broken, damaged, wrecked, sad, incomplete, lost and hopeless. What holds me together through this is nothing for myself. I need to hold myself together for my children and grandchildren and for the memory of my princess and of course my mum and dad. But this is a hard tension to hold.
Branden (1994) in the Six Pillars of Self Esteem says ‘without self acceptance self esteem is impossible.’ (p90). He defines self acceptance as ‘my refusal to be in an adversarial relationship to myself.’ (p91) With my life experience over the last ten years (wife chronically ill) and the last three months (wife dying followed by isolation alone during Covid 19) I am finding self acceptance extremely difficult.
The emotion I chose out of anger, despair, terror and profound joy was profound joy. By a long way this is the most difficult for me to contemplate. As I look at them and consider them I almost feel as if actually anger, despair and terror is what comes out. My selected 5 are the following.
If this is profound joy I am not sure I want to be this person. He looks disturbed and deranged. Tinged with Munch’s scream.
The image I am going to pick is the following. It has punctum that is screaming for help.
Click on the following link for Cristina’s analysis of this image. Cristina Nuñez Analysis
Every fibre of his face and neck is screaming for help. His eyes are piercing, the tongue positioned for a scream and the muscles of the neck tense and taught with aggression. He is fully in the moment in his terror and his state has been created by events of the recent past.
His Left Side
His Right Side
The Inner Mother
This is an artistic work on your “inner mother”, that part of all of you that takes care of you, that is and will always be with you, that loves you unconditionally.
The image I select for analysis is the following.
Cristina Nuñez has given an analysis of this image in her analysis on this video .
Branden, N. (1994). Six Pillars of Self Esteem. Bantam. New York.