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Durham University

Institute of Advanced Study

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IAS Fellows' Seminar - Uterine Dreams

26th October 2020, 12:00 to 13:00, Virtual - via Zoom, Sarah Danays, Independent Sculptor and Photographer

POSTPONED TO 26th OCTOBER - IAS Seminar by Sarah Danays, Independent Sculptor and Photographer

I write and research as an artist wishing to understand those things that inspire and influence my fine art practice, which is profoundly autobiographical.
The full title of the exhibition of sculpture and photography linked to the Fellowship is “Uterine Dreams : I decided for us that you wouldn’t have a child”. This new body of work - an emotional rollercoaster to “gestate” and “deliver” - focuses on three types of emotional distress and the physical locations perceived to house them: trauma in the psyche; grief in the heart; hysteria in the uterus.
Like the vagus nerve that courses through the whole body, connecting on its route the brain, heart and uterus, I wish to pursue and connect up three separate areas of research to re-examine how these essential organs have been understood to absorb emotional disturbances.
I will discuss briefly three cases to illuminate these larger themes. In the first I will reference my own experience of PTSD and its psychoanalytical treatment (trauma to the psyche). In the second the loss of my father and the Greek myth of Aeneas’s journey to the underworld (grief in the heart). For the third, the emotional anguish of miscarriage and William Hunter’s plaster and engraved records of the “lost” pregnancies of his un-named, non-surviving patients (hysteria in the uterus) and Freud’s work to liberate female patients from psychosomatic paralysis.
In undertaking this I hope to better understand the workings of the unconscious mind – primarily in its sleeping and dreaming states - and the method I describe as my “metaphysical surgery”. In the act of making new work and the use of antique broken objects made by anonymous, long-past sculptors, I attempt to address my own emotional disturbances - and sometimes those of my dead collaborators.

The Seminar will take place on Zoom. To register please click here.

Contact enquiries.ias@durham.ac.uk for more information about this event.