‘Interpretation as a Special Kind of Perception’: The Design of the Rorschach Test and Its Refiguration in the Art of Rosemarie Trockel

Brigid Doherty will discuss the design of Hermann Rorschach’s experiment in the “interpretation of chance images” as it was presented in his book Psychodiagnostics in 1921. As first published by Rorschach (1884-1922), the experiment was a test of perception, and indeed specifically of “interpretation as a special kind of perception,” rather than a projective personality test, as it has been widely deployed since the 1930s. This lecture will explore the relationship between Rosemarie Trockel’s refigurations of imagery related to the ten plates that make up the apparatus of the Rorschach test, and the concept of interpretation that formed the basis for the design of the original experiment.

Brigid Doherty teaches in the Departments of German and Art & Archaeology at Princeton University, where she is also Director of the Program in European Cultural Studies, and Associated Faculty in the School of Architecture. This lecture is drawn from her research for a monograph on Rosemarie Trockel’s “Rorschach Pictures.” Doherty’s research and teaching focus on the interdisciplinary study of twentieth-century art and literature, with special emphasis on relationships among the visual arts, literature, and aesthetic and psychoanalytic theories in German modernism. In 2005, she held the inaugural Research Forum Visiting Professorship in Modern and Contemporary Art at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London. In 2006–2007, she was the David and Roberta Logie Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University and an Affiliate Scholar at the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute. In 2008, she was a participant in Manifesta 7, the European Biennial of Contemporary Art, for which she created the exhibition project Learning Things. In 2011 and 2015, she was a Fellow at the Zentrum für Literatur- und Kulturforschung in Berlin.

Organised by Dr Robin Schuldenfrei 

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29 Nov 2018

Thursday 29th November 2018

The Courtauld Institute of Art, Somerset House, Strand, London