Taylor, Sue p.53 Hans Bellmer: The anatomy of anxiety (2000)
Sunday, 7 September 2008
Hans Bellmer and the omnipotence of thoughts
"Indian disguises and conjuring tricks, according to Webb, were among the toys Bellmer received in 1931, and it was surely from the "pulp writer" Karl May, who wrote adventure stories for young German boys about the American Wild West, that the artist had long before learned of the skills of medicine men. The uncanniness of these childhood memories for Bellmer, tinged with a renewed enthusiasm for the accouterments of magic, has to do with the omnipotence of thoughts, a concept Freud adopted from the Rat Man and introduced in the third essay in Totem and Taboo (1912-1913) and again in "The 'Uncanny'" (1919). Associating the reported behaviours of tribal societies with animistic beliefs and the actual symptoms of his own neurotic patients, Freud outlined the ways that magic satisfies various psychic needs: it subjects natural phenomena (such as illness) to the human will, protects the individual, and provides the power to injure enemies. Ultimately, it is based on "mistaking an ideal connection for a real one": convinced of his or her own telepathic mental capacities, a person can attribute to them coincidental effects in the real world."