François Richard : The Work of Representation and the Psychotic Process

This paper supports the hypothesis that the process of subjectivation resorts to a firmness of personal or artistic style when the subject is threatened by psychotic attacks, especially during adolescence. Thought and representation are then seen to intensify in the subject, but it is difficult to distinguish between the excess of melancholic consciousness, psychotic anxiety, and a type of sublimation that is fascinated by drive chaos. The paper proposes a second hypothesis regarding, inversely, the usefulness of a kind of solitude and of masochistic compromise with object and reality. A moment of psychotic crisis in an adolescent girl with a neurotic problem is presented in terms of how the quest for the distinctiveness of style curbs her breakdown. The paper then analyzes the theatrical work of the playwright S. Kane in detail; indeed, here we find an example of the paradox of a suicide that follows successful representational mastery. Finally, we discuss Freud’s ideas about masochistic destructiveness and Winnicott’s ideas about the core of the true self as being non-communication.