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The Illuminated Imagination: The Art of C.G. Jung

February 13 @ 12:00 pm - 5:00 pm

|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every week that begins at 12:00pm on Sunday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, repeating until April 28, 2019

An event every week that begins at 12:00pm on Thursday and Saturday, repeating until April 28, 2019

Free
The Illuminated Imagination: The Art of C. G. Jung presents the art of Carl Gustav Jung in context for the first time. Courtesy Art Design & Architecture Museum, UCSB.
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The Illuminated Imagination: The Art of C. G. Jung presents the art of Carl Gustav Jung in context for the first time.

C.G. Jung (1875-1961, Switzerland) is best known for his fundamental contributions to our understanding of the human psyche. Throughout his experiences and discoveries, the role of the visual arts was critical. While never calling himself an artist, he integrated painting, drawing, sculpting, and even architecture as part of his long life. His most astonishing creation was The Red Book (1915–c.1930), a book he illustrated and hand-wrote in the manner of a medieval manuscript illuminator. The Red Book has been exhibited since 2009, most recently at the Venice Biennale in 2013. It has aroused in broad public enormous interest in Jung’s visions. But the Red Book is only part of the story of Jung’s interest in the visual arts. While Jung never considered himself an artist, with this exhibition, for the first time, Jung’s visual imagination can be understood in its entirety, demonstrating the fundamental importance of art to his psychoanalytic theories and discoveries.

Jung’s fascination with the Middle Ages began with his earliest childhood drawings of castles and continued to the tower of Bollingen, the retreat he designed and built on the shores of Lake Zurich. Early on, he painted landscapes filled with a transcendental longing that would imbue his mature analytical work. Jung was well-versed in the conventional tastes of his day; but his vision quickly grew to include art from around the world and throughout time: ancient Assyrian reliefs, African sculpture, Native American Zuni dolls, Tibetan mandalas.

Jung knew many of the Dada artists who made their home in Zurich. He appreciated works by symbolists like Odilon Redon and surrealist painters like Yves Tanguy. Some of his own work can even be read as abstract, but the symbolic content was always of paramount importance to Jung.

This exhibition contains the majority of Jung’s artistic oeuvre, as well as many of his manuscripts and books on art with annotations by Jung. It presents, for the first time, Jung’s Red Book and his own drawings and sculptures within the context of his theories and the world of art from which they drew.

Accompanying the exhibition is the book, The Art of C. G. Jung, edited by the Foundation of the Works of C. G. Jung (Ulrich Hoerni, Thomas Fischer and Bettina Kaufmann)  and published by W. W. Norton, 2017.  As Ulrich Hoerni writes, “A constant search for deeper insight into the meaning of art and its symbolic representations led Jung over the course of his life to procure a fascinating assemblage of objects, paintings, crafts and other works that furthered his investigations.” To this we might add an extensive art library and photograph collection. The Illuminated Imagination is the first exhibition to address this expansive view of Jung’s activities in the visual arts.

IMAGE: C.G. Jung, The Red Book (detail), page 131, © 2009 Foundation of the Works of C.G. Jung, Zurich. First published by W.W. Norton & Company.