Expertise portal University College Ghent


When I run out of red

Project: PhD-project

  • Demets, Paul (PhD student)
  • Hertmans, Stefan (Promotor HoGent)
  • T'Sjoen, Yves, Universiteit Gent, Belgium (Promotor University)
Taking lacanian psychoanalysis as a starting point, this is an iconological-poetical inquiry into (neo)romanticist motifs in Paul Snoek’s visual and verbal imagery. Erwin Panofsky, founding father of iconology, asserted that to reveal the iconological meaning of a painting, it is necessary to find contemporary parallels in ‘essential tendencies of the human mind’ such as politics, philosophy, religion and poetry. The work of art is seen as a document from which to read the artist’s personality and the culture of his age. This entails a study of the material (both pictural and verbal) image. Though making use of this method, I also want to introduce a focus on the mental image, both in Paul Snoek’s paintings and his poetry. For that reason I aim to develop a lacanian view on iconology en apply it to Snoek’s paintings and poetry. Or: to analyse the imagery in his writings and paintings with a new, renewed, iconological methodology. From a literary-historical perspective, Snoek is being described as a post-experimental poet who, influenced by subsequent literary movements, went through a significant evolution to become, ultimately, a trailblazer for neo-romanticism. From my inquiry into Snoek’s poetical imagery, I would like to point out the continuity and authenticity of his work, apart from matters of evolution and influence; for, even Archipel [Archipelago], Snoek’s 1954 debut, already contains motifs that can justify labelling his work as (neo)romanticist. I will analyse prevailing interpretations of the terms romanticism and neo-romanticism in the Dutch-speaking regions, and add a personal interpretation. Furthermore, I plan to examine the ways in which Snoek implements his views on reality and the artistic calling in his poetry and his painting. This I will do using Lacan’s insights, as I believe plenty of motifs in the works of a romanticist artist can be interpreted in a lacanian sense. In doing so, I wish to reveal the tragic, mental tensions at work in Snoek’s creative output.