Judd's badge




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Part of the series New Studies in Sculpture. The chapter is part of a book that examines how key metaphors of Freudian and Kleinian psychoanalysis, such as splitting, projection, identification and introversion can be applied to sculpture. The chapter makes use of archival sources (unpublished manuscripts by Robert Smithson, and writings of Donald Judd) and supplements Smithson’s critical essays on the work of Donald Judd with the Freudian concept of cathexis. It makes an original contribution to theory by developing Smithson’s critical insights into a theory of ‘space-cathexis’ as a new and valuable concept in the psychoanalytic interpretation of art and architecture. The work is original in that it applies psychoanalytic theory of transference to the understanding of an important moment in the collapse of Minimalism as an art movement. It is significant because the paper offers a psychoanalytic explanation (a failure of transference following Smithson’s analysis) behind the theoretical divide that opened up within Minimalist discourse, based upon important textual and non-textual events (trips, gallery openings and personal interactions). The rigour of research required to piece together these events includes careful readings of published and unpublished texts, interviews of surviving witnesses to these events, as well as a thorough understanding of psychoanalytic theory. The work is original in two major respects. Firstly, it comments on an important aspect of Minimalism that is passed over in the existing secondary literature. Secondly, it examines this evidence in ways that contribute to an expansion of psychoanalytic theory. Psychoanalytic theory generally regards ‘the object’ to mean another person or an object in which emotional investment has been made. Through a careful attention to the evidence, this essay questions the prevailing definition of ‘the object’, finding that in some instances a psychoanalytic object may be space.


RAE 2008, UoA 63 Art and Design


Martin, T.D (2006) Judd's Badge. In: Taylor, B. eds. Sculpture and Psychoanalysis, Aldershot: Ashgate. pp. 53-68.


Research Institute