Gallery (6)

Impossible testimonies: Images and Situations Between Radical Acceptance and Radical Mentalization

curator: Peter Tzanev

Support for the Art in Bulgaria Foundation

This project is realized with the financial support of the Ministry of National Culture Fund


The project presents models of interaction between art and art therapy with their own goals and foundations. These are models focused on a number of operations related to the reception of images, which include the role of the art therapist as the main constitutive medium. This constitutive role is still not well studied because it represents an awareness of a disappearing participation. In this sense, the art therapist as a constitutive medium offers a real corridor to something that no one has access to. Art therapy refers to images that are usually closely associated with severely traumatized bodies, but strangely manage to function at a distance as instruments of contemplation. Images that go beyond basic regimes of consciousness and appear to the mind as something more like “capsules of detachment“ from the predetermined life orbit. In this regard, it is interesting to follow how the famous phenomenologist Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka develops the thesis of the French philosopher and psychologist Maurice Pradines about creativity as a “radical mutation”. The radicality of this mutation lies precisely in its marking the point at which the functional system subservient to life breaks down and human virtualities begin work on bringing forth a new creative functioning (Tymieniecka, 1988). Art takes off, leaving nature behind. The initial moment of art crystallises in a pre-perceptual “sensation“. Pradines emphasises the nature of this “sensation“ by giving it the role of a “radical mutation“ in the sentient circuit of life‘s functioning. The concern with adapting to the natural vital course of life is suspended and replaced by “enchantment“, and the natural everydayness of experience gives way to a new aesthetic horizon. According to psychiatrists Viktor Samokhvalov (Prague, Czech Republic) and Vladimir Kuznetsov (Riga, Latvia), in psychopathology as a form of creativity there is an inductor (patient) and recipient (observer or psychiatrist), but there are also situations that should induce creativity and joint actions, which stimulate the production of creative output (Samokhavalov & Kuznetsov, 2015). In the image constellations presented in the project, the initial phase of creative perception is based on the abyss that lies in the materiality of the body as an unknown and impassable territory. The inductor (the self-discovering person) and the art therapist (the constitutive medium as a present corridor) together form a contradictory concept of the role of the artist, which distances them from any possible “theory of the work of art“. The premise of this project is that all the elusive activities that take place between the inductor and the art therapist-medium take on a whole new meaning and actually constitute their unique relationship as a work of art.


Augustina Stanoeva

Augustina Stanoeva presents her spatial model of art therapy for patients with borderline personality disorder. Stanoeva’s model is based on the actual movements of the body in space during therapy sessions and on the “internal movements” that arise as a result of dissociations. The movement of patients between their shelters and reality is registered by the therapist graphically as lines, and the same are created in space by the participants using creative materials (eg yarn, textile fabrics, wire, etc.).


Vyara Granitska

Art therapist Dr. Vyara Granitska presents Elitsa Shishkova (1984 – 2018) and her psychological monument of repeated symbolic images. Granitska defines Shishkova’s unprecedented series of 15 double-sided drawings as a ritual that formalizes, stylizes and hyperbolizes her behavior, giving it a special function aimed at dealing with deep somatic and psychic processes (Granitska, 2018)


Peter Tzanev

Peter Tzanev presents objects and images under the name “radical spiritualism”, which are by-products in the context of his Ectoplastic Art Therapy (Tzanev, 2019). The images are the result of an induced side effect of contact with unfamiliar psychic auras.



Granitska, Vera. (2018). Art Therapy: Theoretical and Practical Dimensions. Sofia: Tip Top. Press. [In Bulgarian].

Samokhvalov, Victor P., Kuznetsov, Vladimir E. (2015). Psychiatry and Art. Moscow: Vidar. [In Russian].

Tymieniecka, Anna-Teresa. (1988). Art and Nature: Creative vs. Constitutive Perception. In: Tymieniecka, AT. (eds) Logos and Life: Creative Experience and the Critique of Reason. Analecta Husserliana, vol 24. Springer, Dordrecht.

Tzanev, Peter. (2019). Ectoplastic Art Therapy as a Genre of Contemporary Art. Arts 8, no. 4: 134.