Nel Tuo Tempo…….In Your Yime
The artist Olafur Eliasson’s exhibition ‘Nel Tuo Tempo’ was described as addressing the ‘subjective perception and shared experience’ of a Florentine building.
He did this using light, colour and shadow. Some of the twenty exhibits were complex structures, others were more about how we see the building in which the exhibition was staged. In one room, a series of lights outside the building cast shadows of the windows on an adjacent surface, be it a wall, floor or screen. The windows were high on the wall, but the shadow was right there in front of us. Detail that wasn’t possible to see in the window became crisp and clear in the reflection and shadow. The minute particles in the glass were visible in a way that was impossible to see without the artist’s intervention.
Artistic works can resonate with us emotionally in ways that are unexpected. These exhibits not only provoked an emotional response, but also raised question about what we could understand about the fabric of the building.
Moving between detail
Psychotherapy is about how we experience and relate to our emotions and that through our emotional world we can gain insight into the ‘fabric’ of ourselves. We begin thinking about how we feel now, what is going on in our world and how we relate to it. The gentle exploration of emotions, history and our lived experience gives a sense of what makes us who we are. Like the exhibits in the museum, we can be curious about so much more than what we see.
You could observe people moving in close and seeing the details of the glass panels, then standing back and looking at the window as a whole felt. This felt like moving between detail in a similar way to how we move between thoughts and feelings during psychotherapy. The detail of daily life, which puts emotional demands on us, alongside a wider view of life and history, shifting between thoughts to build a complete picture. Like the artist does, it’s about creating a space in which we can be curious about what is there and what is less easy to see, moving from what is subjective into something shared. Asking ourselves if it’s possible to not fully understand and remain curious.
Subjective Perception, shared experience
The connections and considerations of psychotherapy and art are numerous and much commented on. This exhibition brought to mind the fact that both art and psychotherapy can give us a much greater insight into our emotional world, by moving beyond what is seen and what is not seen, but is felt. It can also reveal some of how when we engage with certain art works, we also mirror what goes on therapeutically between the practitioner and the client. Shifting between detail, emotions and understanding, the subjective perception becomes the shared experience.
Psychotherapy is about moving from the subjective to the shared. Being heard and seen as a means of gaining a deeper understanding of who we are and our relationship with our selves and those around us.
Further reading by David Work –