Psychoanalysis of the garden
Contemporary Art | In his text Of other spaces, Heterotopias (1967) Foucault wrote : “ […] the garden is a rug onto which the whole world comes to enact its symbolic perfection, and the rug is a sort of garden that can move across space. The garden is the smallest parcel of the world and then it is the totality of the world. The garden has been a sort of happy, universalizing heterotopia since the beginnings of antiquity”. Foucault argues that heterotopias or “other spaces” have a double aspect : they are part of the daily environment we live in but they are also “apart » since their function is to act as mirrors of society. For thousands of years, in every civilization, gardens have reflected societies’ diverse states. In that sense, they are microcosms of the world as seen by a singular culture, we could even refer to them as “contractions » or densifications of the world.
Gardens, like oriental carpets, are at the origin of structured representations and conceptual organizations of the world. Both concepts are formed by basic structures on which ornaments and vegetation are overlaid. The difference between them lies in a change of scale and a change of dimension. A rose-shaped design at the center of an oriental carpet becomes the basin of water in an oriental garden, which becomes the pillar around which the four corners of the world are often organized. The carpet is a transportable microcosm that artists refer to in order to question our representations of the world, and our relation to these representations. For instance, in his painting The Geographer, (1668-1669), […]
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