Untangling: Jeff Wall

Untangling, 1994

I first came across this photograph by Jeff Wall via artastheraphy.com, a project by Alain de Botton’s The School of Life. Jeff Wall is a leading contemporary Canadian photographer that uses cinematographic reconstructions of everyday moments to convey ideas about the nature of images, representation, and memory.

In Art as Therapy the book, the powerful and restorative benefits of art in our everyday lives is discussed via its seven functions: remembering, hope, sorrow, rebalancing, self-understanding, growth and appreciation. It is one of the most enjoyable art books I have ever read.  

Like other tools, art has the power to extend our capacities beyond those that nature has originally endowed us with. Art compensates us for certain inborn weaknesses, in this case of the mind rather than the body, weaknesses that we can refer to as psychological frailties. This book proposes that art (a category that includes works of design, architecture and craft) is a therapeutic medium that can help guide, exhort and console its viewers, enabling them to become better versions of themselves.’ (Art as Therapy: The School of Life)

If only more exhibitions actively helped people to understand their personal internal struggles. Sometimes, all we need is reassurance that we are not alone in our psychological angst and that our difficulties are surmountable.

Image via artastherapy.com

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