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Janice McNab on ‘Surrealism and the making of Mother’

At the conference Surrealism and Scotland on 23 and 24 March, Janice McNab will share the paper ‘Surrealism and the making of Mother’.

Louise Bourgeois, Maman 1999, installed outside the Getty Museum, Bilbao

Surrealism and the making of Mother

A psychoanalytic world-view informs McNab's contemporary painting practice, and makes her interested in the work women were making when Freud’s ideas first entered the art world. Much of this work has, until recently, been denied a place in art history, but that of Louise Bourgeois is an exception. Although she rejected any hint of Surrealist influence, she was nevertheless socially entangled with key participants in the 1930’s and 40’s, and would go on to study psychoanalysis throughout her life. By tracing the artist’s early social connections and looking at key objects she loved, Janice will explore how her most famous late work, Maman, 1999, can be understood as both a feminist articulation of desire and an informed rejection of the social forces that have denied so many women their voice, and in the end, also undid the Surrealist project.

Janice McNab

Dr Janice McNab is a Scottish artist and academic currently based in The Netherlands, where she is Head of the MA Artistic Research at the Royal Academy of Art, The Hague. She is also a post-doctoral scholar at The University of the Arts/ Leiden University, engaged in experimental artistic research related to The Ten Largest, by Swedish artist Hilma af Klint. Her recently completed book, The Ghost Artist, considers spectrality as a visual trope of feminist resistance.

Surrealism and Scotland

The conference Surrealism and Scotland is a co-production of The university of Edinburgh, the National Galleries of Scotland, and Glasgow School of Art.

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