Carl Jung is a Swedish philosopher psychologist artist and author. He dedicated his life to the spiritual endeavour of reaching the mind’s full potential and accessing the subconscious mind through many meditative activities. One process Jung taught was the process of active imagination – a process in which the artist gets themselves into an almost hypnotic state in order to gain access to the subconscious mind and to give it a platform on which to create. He worked with many clients, most famously Mrs X, who with little to no experience in creating, began a series of intricate paintings that almost tell a story of outer conflict transforming to inner tranquillity. I think that the process of Active imagination as a catalyst for self-discovery through communication of the subconscious mind through art is a very interesting concept.

The Sacred Round: Mandalas 1926-1945 | Lillian Sizemore's Mind's EyeThe Sacred Round: Mandalas 1926-1945 | Lillian Sizemore's Mind's Eye


In his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde flagrantly claimed, ‘All art is quite useless’, feeding into his belief that art does not need to express anything but itself. This quotation almost perfectly juxtaposes the Aesthetics movement of the late 19th century with its rebellion against ‘useless’ art from the Industrial Age, escaping the mass production of similar-looking art and extracting all deeper meaning for the sake of focusing on the beauty of art alone, ‘Art for Art’s sake’.

Dante Gabriel Rossetti was an English creative mind who participated in painting, illustration, literature etc, during the Aesthetics movement. His painting La Ghirlandata (The Garlanded Lady) is the embodiment of his transition into a more aesthetically pleasing genre of art. In this piece, he ditches sharp features and linework to portray a delicate scene which could be described as balanced and harmonious. His bright and playful colour palette compliments the overall tone of the painting creating a scene to be admired, perfectly encapsulating the essence of the Aesthetics movement as Rossetti almost inspires a new standard of beauty in the art world through the allusion of the beautiful woman depicted. Her unconventional beauty for the time of the Victorian age was a bold statement to allude the fact that art does not have to be traditional to still be beautiful.

“La Ghirlandata” by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882)

La Ghirlandata by Dante Gabriel Rossetti | The British Library


One of Salvador Dali’s more controversial pieces, Corpus Hypercubus is a 1954 oil painting on canvas. After showing interest in nuclear science after the atomic bombing at the end of World War II he began to develop an art theory called ‘Nuclear Mysticism’ which composed of different theories that try to show the relationships between quantum physics and the conscious mind. Before painting corpus hypercubus, Dali declared his intention to depict an exploding Christ, claiming that “this painting will be the great metaphysical work of [his] summer” This piece is so interesting as the contents of Dali’s spiritual conflict is almost depicted in the painting. Dali’s use of the tesseract (a hyper cube which only exists in four dimensions of space) as a motif of the concept of God existing in a spacial dimension other than ours is a fascinating exploration of the idea of an incompressible space in which other forces/energies live. This painting is almost a perfect marriage of art and existential philosophy which can be said to be ahead of its time.

Crucifixion (Corpus Hypercubus) - Wikipedia

Corpus Hypercubus 1954


  1.  “Salvador Dali: painting the fourth dimension” Retrieved 2016-10-28.


Marina Abramovic is a famous conceptual and performance artist. Through her art, she has explored a plethora of themes relating to gender, specifically feminist art. Her pieces are usually a test of endurance and a push of boundaries of the human body as ma y of her performances involve putting her body under physical and emotional stress. Abramovic also has an interesting approach to interactive art, exploring the relationship between performer and audience with one of her performances titled Rhythm 0 leaving a lasting impression on the art world for its statement on the objectification of women. Abramovic assigned herself the role of the passive subject and placed 72 objects on a table giving the audience of her performance free reign to use any of said objects that they chose on her body, in the absence of any consequences. The performance itself, escorted mainly by the participation of the audience made for a very moving statement on the objectification of women as given within the first couple of hours, Abramovic was completely stripped, violated, and belittled  by the actions of the audience participators. Abramovic herself stated that when the performance was over she ‘stood up and started walking toward the audience. Everyone ran away, to escape an actual confrontation.’ Her performance explores the idea that the female identity in society and the idea of female fear and physical exhaustion as a result of the century long plight of women to build our boundaries in society.

The Most Terrifying Work of Art in History Reveals The True Cost of Passive  Acceptance - Lone Wolf Magazine

A photograph taken from Abramovik’s performance 1974


  1.  Abramović, Marina; Thompson, Chris; Weslien, Katarina (2006). “Pure Raw: Performance, Pedagogy, and (Re)presentation”. PAJ28 (1): 29–50. JSTOR 4139995.
  2.  “Audience To Be”The Theatre Times. February 11, 2019. Retrieved March 4, 2020.