Make Me Yours: How Art Seduces
What makes a work of art seductive? This book is concerned with the relational and psychodynamic aspects of the encounter between the work of the art and the viewer; one that, when seduction operates, is characterised by interplay, flow and conflict. The first step is to define seduction, a concept that is contingent, ridden with confusion, contradictions and connotative interpretations, even in the gallery space. Any attempt at pinning it down shows that it is pervasive and operates everywhere. To overcome this problem, this book offers a subjective approach, comprised of three practices: photographic, psychoanalytic and writing.
The context of seduction here is multiform: eighteenth-century libertine novels, particularly Les Liaisons Dangereuses and the writings of the Marquis de Sade; Giacomo Casanova’s memoirs; Frank Sinatra’s arrest in 1938; Sigmund Freud’s abandonment of the seduction theory; Søren Kierkegaard’s games between Johannes and Cordelia; Karl Marx’s commodity fetishism; Surrealist works; and Jacques Lacan’s mysterious objet petit a, the object cause of desire. Personal encounters with Marcel Duchamp’s Étant donnés, and a bold shoe in a New York shop window play a part in delineating seduction, together with the occasional appearances of a detective, who will provide the forensic gaze required.
When Laura González is not following Freud and Marx with her camera, she teaches psychoanalysis and creates performances. Her recent work explores knowledge and the body of the hysteric. She co-edited the book Madness, Women and the Power of Art, to which she contributed a work with Eleanor Bowen.
"Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "Make Me Yours: How Art Seduces" is an inherently fascinating, thoughtful and thought-provoking read from beginning to end. A seminal work of intellectual elegance, "Make Me Yours: How Art Seduces" is very highly recommended for personal, community, college, and university library collections."
Mary Cowper Midwest Book Review, 15: 12 (December 2016)
"In a world in which we habitually judge art by the rules of commerce and refuse to be ‘taken in’ by it, Laura González shows us how we gain freedom from being taken in and seduced by art ‘of our own free will’."
Malcolm Quinn Professor of Political and Cultural History, University of the Arts, London
"Laura González writes with a spirit of adventure—her intellect is fierce, imaginative and never afraid to take risks."
Jane Rendell Professor of Architecture and Art, The Bartlett School of Architecture
"Both deeply erudite and wonderfully playful, this book stole my heart. Quite brilliant. Make it yours, dear potential reader, make it yours—you will not be disappointed!" Valerie Walkerdine Distinguished Research Professor, Cardiff University."
"Thoughtful and elegant, Make Me Yours is an exercise in thinking which emerges from doing, and, perhaps more importantly, from being undone. It is not only a work about art and seduction, but a seductive work of art."
Steve Dutton Professor in Contemporary Art Practice, University of Lincoln
"From her cover and into her text, Laura González—by turns teasing, tantalising and telling—seduces me with her book: a seduction, which unravels the mechanics of seduction itself as a working method."
Andrew Cooks Artist, Transart Institute, School of Visual Arts, New York
"Throughout this text, Laura González’s approach to the material is unique, a consequence no doubt of her dual nature as artist and writer. She presents a nuanced yet accessible analysis of a deeply complex subject, one that will appeal to a wide audience of readers. This book seeks to engage with an audience of hysterics and neurotics, and, accordingly, we ought to allow ourselves to be seduced by Gonzalez herself."
Dr Lucy Weir History of Art, University of Edinburgh
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