Psychological Test

11 May 2009 | by | In process

“My show of crashed cars was held at the New Arts Lab in April 1970. It was an art show designed to carry out a psychological test, so that I could decide whether to write my novel “Crash”—begun in 1970 and finished in 1972. I wanted to test my own hypothesis about our unconscious fascination with car crashes and their latent sexuality. One could argue that today’s Turner prize, and the exhibitions of work by Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin and the Chapman brothers perform exactly the same role, that they are elaborate attempts to test the psychology of today’s public. Going further, I’m tempted to say that the psychological test is the only function of today’s art shows, and that the aesthetic elements have been reduced almost to zero. It no longer seems possible to shock people by aesthetic means, as did the Impressionists, Picasso and Matisse, among many others. In fact, it no longer seems possible to touch people’s imaginations by aesthetic means. People in London flocked to the Barnet Newman show out of a deep nostalgia for a time when the aesthetic response still mattered.”"
J. G. Ballard

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