Lloyd’s installation comprises three sections, each roughly corresponding to Lacan’s tripartite structure of the Imaginary, the Symbolic and the Real: the artist’s (post) studio, the psychoanalyst’s office, and a video installation of the artist undertaking a dual role as both analyst and analysand. The studio here might ordinarily pertain to the realm of the Imaginary; instead, the artist’s space consists of a desk and table lamp: this is accompanied by a selection of photocopied texts from psychoanalytic sources affixed to the wall. The central section contains a reconstruction of the analyst’s office, which approximates to the linguistic domain of the Symbolic, and the site of psychoanalytic treatment. However, the scene is vacated: instead, Lloyd’s analysis/self-analysis is displayed in the video installation. However, since the three sections do not correspond exactly to Lacan’s concepts, this allows for slippage between them.

The video installation promises us a glimpse of the Real, the inaccessible core outside the domain of the Symbolic or Imaginary. Lloyd’s own formulation of the ‘Rreal,’ which initially resulted from a typographic error, borrows from Lacan, but also puns on Duchamp’s alter-ego Rrose Selavy. This final section is not without a certain level of humour, not least because of Lloyd’s beard lends him a suitably Freudian appearance. Lloyd’s self-analysis is part truthful, part-fiction, and in doing so points to one of the main methodological problems of psychoanalysis. For its defenders, psychoanalysis reveals the role of fantasy in the construction of our everyday life; for its detractors, this very blurring of fantasy and the real constitutes a rebuttal of the very claim of psychoanalysis to be a credible discipline. Lloyd toys with this split between fantasy and reality by including inconsistencies between the analyst’s room as it is seen in the video and in the exposed set.

The comparison between the psychoanalyst’s couch and the booth of confession has not gone unnoticed (not least amongst psychoanalysis’ sceptics). In art, the expectation that the artist should bare him or herself for the public stems is underpinned by the value placed upon the artist’s sincerity or authenticity. Lloyd’s installation plays with this long-standing expectation through recourse to psychoanalysis, albeit filtered through its popular manifestations as expounded by Slavoj Žižek. In the video, there is also a nod to a particular strain of television comedy where the humour stems from either the characters’ neuroses, or their social ineptitude. As Lloyd free-associates on the couch, he reflects at length upon his annoyance at having to listen to Robbie Williams’ ubiquitous ‘Angels’ at a funeral; he recollects an encounter with his ex-girlfriend (represented in the dream as Naomi Watts: ‘the blond girl from Mulholland Drive’); most tellingly, however, Lloyd recounts that his ‘ex’ is now married to the talismanic theorist Žižek. Lloyd confesses that this face-to-face encounter with the ‘father-figure’ of Žižek leaves him frozen in terror. One might suggest that this encounter is the traumatic rupture within the otherwise wry self-mockery which is at work. Lloyd’s self-conscious use of psychoanalysis leaves the viewer to decide how much credence to lend to his confessions.

Stephen Moonie

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