The disruptive and transformative reality of the individuation process is captured in this gallery of works by the Swiss artist Peter Birkhäuser.
Last Updated on Monday, 30 December 2013 00:12
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The creative process of the Swiss artist Peter Birkhäuser (1911-1976) took a striking turn when he entered midlife. A successful and influential graphic artist, Birkhäuser entered a deep depression and sought answers in the ideas of C.G. Jung. He entered analysis with Marie-Louise von Franz and developed a friendship with Jung himself. As it became more difficult for Birkhäuser to finish his creative assignments, he began to illustrate images from his dreams. Over the course of 35 years, he kept notes on over 3400 of his dreams, and his work increasingly focused on the images emerging from his unconscious. His new work was not well-received by the art community of the time, but, viewed today, his vivid paintings bear striking testament to the disruptive and transformative reality of the individuation process. Few artists have so powerfully evoked the uncanny otherness of the unconscious.
Many images in this gallery are accompanied by commentary by Jungian analyst Dean Frantz, who devoted much of his professional career to chronicling Birkhäusers story and creative work. The images are scanned from Frantzs slides; where titles are known, they are included under each thumbnail. Frantzs collected papers are housed in the collection of The Jung Center of Houstons library, and a DVD presentation by Frantz on Birkhäusers work is available for sale through The Jung Centers bookstore.