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Christopher Le Brun

Is Christopher Le Brun the new Morris Graves, the horse his self-symbol, the objective correlative transcendentalizing his unconscious? Certainly both strike the same Symbolist note: the attempt to make a work of art with which one can once again cathect, to which one is willing to commit one’s all. But in Graves’ work the cathexis is predetermined by the conventional symbols he uses, while Le Brun’s desire for cathexis determines his choice of symbol and, most important, his need for the convention of the symbol at all. Also, for Graves the symbol begins in nature; for Le Brun it begins in myth. But it finds its way into painting as a new myth, a new basis for “expression.” Le Brun revives the ancient idea of art as a magic act making an outward representation of an internal psychic process—an idea that is the root of the conception of art as imagination rather than imitation, as vision

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