Visual Art and Self-Construction (2021) by Katrina Mitcheson – JBSP Review
Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology review: ‘Katrina Mitcheson: Visual Art and Self-Construction (2021)’. By David Deamer (Online ahead of print: 12 April 2023).
Dr Katrina Mitcheson, apart from being senior lecturer in philosophy at the University of the West of England and the esteemed president of the venerable Friedrich Nietzsche Society, is also an established academic author. Her first book was Nietzsche, Truth and Transformation (Palgrave, 2013), and she has had numerous journal and collected edition essays out over the last decade or so. I have seen her talks a few times, the first way back during the early 2010s in Manchester when he gave a memorable paper on Neitzsche and the filmmaker Werner Herzog.
So, it was a pleasure to not only get to read her brilliant new book, Visual Art and Self-Construction (EUP, 2021), but to have the opportunity to review it. In essence, the book explores how powerful art and reinvents selves, and how people can become artists of the self. Here’s a snippet: “Powerful analyses and exquisite readings interweave […] Academically rigorous, each chapter begins and ends with helpful summaries, the introduction setting the scene and the conclusion recapping the essentials. The book is thus perfect for both the general reader as a primer and the seasoned academic working in the fields of modern philosophy and the arts. More importantly, however, this is a deeply personal book from someone immersed in the culture and history of the visual arts as well as deeply occupied by the problems posed by modern philosophy”.
The book explores the philosophy and thought of Nietzsche, Freud, Foucault, and Ricoeur. And artists such as Goya, Louise Bourgeois, Francis Bacon, Cindy Sherman, Claude Cahun (née Lucy Schwob) and Marcel Moore (née Suzanne Moore), the Judson Dance Theatre choreographed by Steve Paxton and Yvonne Rainer, and feminist artist ORLAN – amongst a whole host of others. I really cannot recommend it enough!
Read David Deamer’s review: ‘Visual Art and Self-Construction (2021) by Katrina Mitcheson’ (2023) at Taylor & Francis Online. First 50 accesses are free of charge at the publishers.