When cracks appear in the ‘I’ – A conversation about Unica Zürn.

How can the individual be confronted with, and threatened by, foreign elements within the self?


Sky Room

Fragmented faces and bizarre figures, texts were light and darkness battle for supremacy. Unica Zürn expressed herself via different media; she made drawings, wrote anagrammatic poetry and prose – as well as photographic projects with her partner Hans Bellmer. Her art deals with longing and love, hate and destructiveness. She describes the relationship between the sexes and the shocking realization that huge cracks can open up in the self. Zürn’s personal struggle ended tragically: she chose to take her own life. Despite her texts and art being strongly rooted in the personal, they still leave room for a broader conversation.

Sølvi Kristiansen will begin by reflecting what Zürn’s artistry can tell us about the individual’s struggle with and against its internal contradictions. This will be followed by a conversation with Susanne Christensen, diving further into Zürn’s diverse practice and connecting it to artist Leonora Carrington. 

The conversation is held in Norwegian. 

The talk is arranged in collaboration with Norsk Psykoanalytisk Forening in connection to the exhibition The Savage Eye.

Sølvi Kristiansen is a specialist in clinical psychology and an independent psychoanalyst. She is also a teacher and supervisor at the Norsk Psychoanalytical Institute. She has previously worked at the intersection of art and psychoanalysis, and has published articles on pain, impermanence/loss, and masochism, derived respectively from Marguerite Duras, Rainer Maria Rilke and Leopold von Sacher-Masoch.

Susanne Christensen is an author, editor, and critic. Her book Leonoras Reise (Leonora’s Travels), about the British-Mexican surrealist Leonora Carrington, was published in 2019.