The power of the gaze : a Lacanian interpretation of Barbara Kruguer's photographs

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Yayoi Matsuura, Elena
Issue Date
BA in Psychology
Dublin Business School
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The main objective of this theoretical paper is to show the relationship between certain Lacanian psychoanalytic concepts (the gaze, sexual difference, signifier and masquerade) and the representation of women in postmodern art theory through the work of photographer Barbara Kruguer. In order to demonstrate the influence of Jacques Lacan on Kruguer, Freudian psychoanalytic theories, influential feminist psychoanalysts and art critics are explored, compared and analysed in relation Lacan's postulates on femininity and the phallocentric order. The argument gained is based on the relevance of psychoanalysis to the construction of gender revealed in Kruger's work through language and stereotypical images. The conclusion from this analysis points out the innovative power of Kruguer's pictures to change the relations and traditional representations of the woman as object by emptying the meaning of the image.