Congratulations to NCAD Graduate Luke Byrne for his multimedia installation, Tony Ferrari : Superbowl Sunday, at the NCAD Degree Show in June of 2015. Self described as: “Guns, explosions, denim, war, shockingly lifelike prosthetics, cocktails, palm trees, special effects, Hollywood, other guys, milk, meat, dads, cool right? I know.” Byrne and his work, which deals with masculinity in a self aware, insightful, and absurd manner, is (finally) in the spotlight at www.showerofkunst.com.
In previous years we have covered various Irish Degree Shows with extensive images of numerous artists from different schools. This year we are taking a different approach. Instead, we have offered the 2015 Shower of Kunst Undergrad Spotlight Award, a single award to an artist that created a body of work that was challenging, outstanding, and new. The award is designed to highlight the artist and their work in detail, providing background, to be featured on our site.
Rambo’s tendency towards violence could be considered under the Kleinan psychoanalytic term ‘projective identification’. In this theory, Melanie Klein, suggest that “projection identification involves a phantasy in which some aspect of the self, felt as unbearable, is got rid of into someone else” [Segal, 2004, 37]. Rambo’s acts of violence could be contributed to humiliation, a separated mother figure, and his attempt at reclaiming his masculine self-identity. This construction of an exaggerated myth of masculinity involving scenes of violence and fighting become relatable to young men, and vets in 1980s America whose masculinity, and self-worth had been put in crises by the era itself. Klein suggests that, from a paranoid-schizoid position there are fantasies of attack and violence towards the mother. She states that one “line of attack derives from the anal and the urethral impulses and implies expelling dangerous substances out of the self and into the mother. Together with these harmful excrements, expelled in hatred, split off parts of the ego are also projected on to the mother or, as I would rather call it, into the mother”[Klein, 1975, vol. III, 8]. Being their no mother figure in this film, perhaps Rambo’s projection has moved onto the father. Rambo’s denial of castration has put him in a rebellious infantile state, whereas he wants to attack the father. Rambo could perhaps view the men he attacks as controlling father figures. Viewing Rambo’s use of guns as an extension of his phallus, he expels and projects bullets and rockets into his enemies as a form of expelling parts of himself which he finds problematic such as humiliation and feminization. He does this as a way of recovering his male identity which was taken from him by America and the war. In this sense Rambo had become the perfect fantasy and an iconic male for American men who felt there masculinity was put in crises. Projection Identification also acts as a way to control the object or the person being projected on to. Rambo’s attack and backlash against the corrupt social order of his world may be his attempt to control it.
Rambo’s “projection of parts of oneself into someone else may be an attempt to control the other person. It may also be done for more malicious reasons, perhaps as a punishment. Sometimes seems the person may also be trying to find out how someone else deals with the feeling or part of the self, with some hope that they might do it better: ‘Let’s see how you get along with it!’ where ‘it’ is a desperate sense of insecurity, or confusion, or some other form of suffering” [Segal, 2004, 34].
“My work initially started off exploring themes of masculinity. Both my personal relationship with the subject and the notions of masculinity perpetuated through film and the media. I wanted to burlesque these ideas and take a tongue-in-cheek, almost juvenile, scope at the subject matter. Gradually, my work came to incorporate the process of creating the art itself. It’s rough and ready preparation and the off the cuff execution became a significant part of it. Looking at the ideas of hyperrealism and the destruction of narrative, my work began to become more about the space and time of process, and Hawaiian shirts and moustaches.”
Follow Luke here.
Klein. M. (1975) ‘The writings of Melanie Klein, 4 vols. Vol.III: Envy and gratitude and other works 1946-1963′. London. Hogarth Press and the Institute of Psychoanalysis.
Segal, J. (2004) ‘Melanie Klein : ‘Key figures in counselling and psychotherapy’. London. SAGE publications Ltd.