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  • #6359

    Frank
    Participant

    Here's a little poser to keep the regulars busy during the ice age.I grew up in a deprived house with limited means surrounded by distressed people, my father was prone to bizarre ocasionally extreme behaviour and suffered mental breakdowns, my mother was widely regarded as psychologically damaged, a nutter by local definition, the house in which I grew up was full of conflict, occasional violence and disconnected peoples. In my lifetime I attempted to understand the extremes of the human condition, I fathered four daughters and six sons by multiple women, by any definition I was an absent father, one of my most significant relationships was with a woman called Mary, I died at age 61 from a heart attack ...Who am I ?

    #10078

    TheWolfman
    Participant

    Who am I ?

    An open book that appeared to some an enigma. More than the sum of your parts. You are R.O Lenkiewicz, Painter.

    Why am I relevant ?

    Because you lived whilst many others merely exist.

    #10079

    Frank
    Participant

    krauser, If I could turn you on, if I could drive you out of your wretched mind, if I could tell you I would let you knowarticle-1021176-0159EA8E00000578-212_468x408.jpgGood sentiment, wrong answer, wrong RL ...

    #10080

    marlowe
    Participant

    God old Ronnie.

    #10081

    TheWolfman
    Participant

    krauser, If I could turn you on, if I could drive you out of your wretched mind, if I could tell you I would let you know

    Ah, the Politics of Experience - so Ronald David Laing then. Nicely done, a very good quiz.

    #10082

    sartre
    Participant

    Doesn't he look awfully like Peter Stringfellow? 😮

    #10083

    TheWolfman
    Participant

    Doesn't he look awfully like Peter Stringfellow? 😮

    He does indeed, poor chap!

    #10084

    Annie HillSmith
    Participant

    Perhaps, it might look as though there are some similarities between ROL and RDL but in my opinion these are very limited. One significant and interesting difference is in the realm of 'mind altering substances'. Laing was an experimenter with drugs and indeed was at times an alcoholic. Lenkiewicz had a strong aversion to [psychoactive] drugs and to alcohol, holding that his brain was too important an organ to interfere with chemically. He wanted to be able to trust his brain and its relationship to his hand and not insert chemicals into his experience [insofar as that was possible]. Clearly he did take medication when he was ill but, as far as I know, he never took other things.Of course, Lenkiewicz had 5 daughters, not 4!

    #10085

    Frank
    Participant

    On the other hand we could say that;

    • ROL housed the subjects of his existential research in Clifton Street, Keppel Terrace, Rectory Road and up to nine warehouses whilst RDL housed his in Kingsley Hall + multiple ‘acquired’ buildings (as many as twenty) from 1965 onwards
    • ROL called his first investigatory project "Vagrancy" whilst RDL called his the "Philadelphia Association". I can think of no other people in the UK who were engaged in this type of activity from 1965 (RDL) through to the late seventies
    • ROL not only sites RDL as in influence but both are rooted firmly in the twentieth century existentialist movement. If we think of Kierkegaard, Simone de Beauvoir and Heidegger as three sides of an existential philosophical triangle then ROL and RDL are central.
    • ROL said of vagrants “What I did want to do was to produce a painting project and to see if I could get them to talk, which I did in no uncertain terms. Some of these people were quite insightful. I did think that there were insights to be gained.”
    • RDL said of the ‘mad’ “The discourse of the 'mad', if listened to in the right spirit could make a sense of its own”
    • ROL said of mental handicap "The paradox consists of two kinds of brain damage running parallel; the mentally handicapped child/adult and the 'normal ' member of Society. "
    • RDL challenges, like ROL the very notion of ‘normal’

    I would agree with anyone who argued that Frank Tallis and ROL share nothing and that he is way off the mark when he suggests;“Robert Lenkiewicz expressed the view that love could be likened to an obsessional, addictive state, rooted in an underlying physiology” Robert did not root ‘Love’ in physiology.“Although doctors have decided that lovesickness is no longer an illness, scientists, poets, lyricists – and Robert Lenkiewicz – maintain that it is” can someone show me any evidence that Robert considered ‘love’ a sickness or illnessAnnie, during the QnA session at the NPG you made some reference to “men changing nappies”, any chance of an insight?

    #10086

    marlowe
    Participant

    Some good points about RDL, Frank but:

    I would agree with anyone who argued that Frank Tallis and ROL share nothing and that he is way off the mark when he suggests;“Robert Lenkiewicz expressed the view that love could be likened to an obsessional, addictive state, rooted in an underlying physiology” Robert did not root ‘Love’ in physiology.

    other than ROL, "It's the twentieth project and the culmination of them all. It's an attempt to put together as solidly as possible all the ideas that run through the other projects as a common denominator: that is, to consider the physiological basis of belief systems - particularly those that lead to obsessive or fanatical behaviour. It seems to me that in studying addictive behaviour attention can be drawn to physiological issues. There are ten themes, the central one being the 'falling in love' scenario"...I see no evidence that alcohol or drug abuse is any different from falling in love or acquiring a theological conviction."Or have you got a quote that says any different?

    #10087

    member555
    Keymaster

    “Although doctors have decided that lovesickness is no longer an illness, scientists, poets, lyricists – and Robert Lenkiewicz – maintain that it is” can someone show me any evidence that Robert considered ‘love’ a sickness or illness

    Late in life, Robert described his feelings for Mary (or more to the fact, feelings triggered by Mary), and how he attempted to put them on paper:"A sense of distance; an erotic innuendo - or was it; a twinge of jealousy; the closeness of the wall to the left of my head or the space to the right of it as I’m drinking tea; the sound of her voice; the way I felt I could balance on one leg on the end-part of her laugh; the movements of her mouth; the flow of blouse against the curve of breast; her running down the stairs with a black flagging coat; the rain outside; the fatigue of the waitress; and on and on it went. Every single event that went on, no matter how trivial, took on a strange poetic significance simply because I was in this persons company."To any outsider, this is a beautiful description of deep love.Robert continues:"I used to take newspapers, quite arbitrarily, paint images of her on it, and then look for paragraphs which I would comment on as though they were in some way secret hints to the nature of the relationship. A kind of mental illness."Robert's words.

    #10088

    Annie HillSmith
    Participant

    I think there is a lot of evidence that Robert was very interested in the idea that there are what he liked to call “physiological” mechanisms underlying powerful behaviours. Incidentally, a lot of people think this or think along these lines. When he uses a word like physiological he's trying to emphasise that he thinks 'chemical' processs will be found and he's drawing a distinction between physiological and psychological mechanisms. I'm sympathetic to this view myself although I don't think it's meaningful to dismiss psychological causes in the way that Robert did.So...he did, in my opinion, think that love will be found to have clear "physiological" underpinnings. Then we have to look at this word - love. He didn't use it much, prefering to use a term such as "preoccupied with". If he used love as a word it was mostly used ironically or in a title for a painting. He found the word to have too many associations, too much baggage and he distanced himself from it. It didn't fit the way he wanted to conduct relationships... I believe. I emphasize that this is just my view and I daresay others might see it differently. His writing and his paintings describe his feelings when he is "preoccupied with" a person and often they express these emotions with great eloquence and beauty. Many might call it love; he chose not to.I'm not sure that drawing parallels between Laing and Lenkiewicz, interesting though it may be, is going to be very revealing of Lenkiewicz' personality... or Laing's although, for sure, they grew up at the same time [roughly] and so on.Regarding nappies, Frank, I really can't remember what that was about! Maybe something about men usually don't do it and women do? I can't imagine it was very profound!

    #10089

    WEB WEAVER
    Participant

    Jealousy would be a project on a particular type of mental affliction caused by love. In the Love and Romance and also Love and Mediocrity Projects the sudden withdrawl of love causes mental affliction. The functional impact of drug addiction and mental illness are identical. Love generates a drug by "natural forces." If this is suddenly cut off it causes severe feelings of withdrawl.Love seems in a way similar to manic depression, capable of producing a high elivated state on the one hand, but low mood on the other. A different example given by Frank Tallis is that of melancholy being being caused by love not being reciprocated.

    #10090

    Francis
    Participant

    From the diaries of Dr. Philip Stokes Transcription of an audio tape recorded in the course of a visit to Robert Lenkiewicz in his Barbican studio, on 26th August 1986.PS I’d been trying to find someone with an interest in the use of photography in psychotherapy, and I got in touch with Ronnie as you know. I also corresponded with quite a lot of people in hospitals and universities up and down the country; and really got nowhere. The chap at Nottingham [David Smail], who wrote Illusion and Reality, was very helpful but totally non-visual, and I had a pleasant but useless afternoon with him. But what’s happened much more recently is that one of my students has done a dissertation in which she’s dealt with family photography. And the family album, and so on.RL

    #10091

    WEB WEAVER
    Participant

    White Lane Press: There was a view emerging in the sixties, Foucault’s ‘Madness and Civilization’ for instance, that madness had its own wisdom and was in some sense a triumph over the blandness of modern society—did you share that point of view? ROL: I must say that I was definitely aware of that—R.D. Laing, for instance. Right from the start I just accepted them as they were. I knew that you couldn’t do anything for them. I had no desire to change them. What I did want to do was to produce a painting project and to see if I could get them to talk, which I did in no uncertain terms. Some of these people were quite insightful. I was interested in their amorality and their psychotic behaviour. I did think that there were insights to be gained. There was almost a prophet-like quality about some of them. I was very taken with the ‘Caspar Hauser’ metaphor later developed by Werner Herzog. It got very difficult at times—you could find yourself in aggressive or dangerously violent situations. I saw a mountain of terrible things. Your patience was tested to the most extreme degree, no matter how much attention you gave to them or what alleged kindnesses you performed. You had to be very careful that you never deluded yourself, that you never expected a reward or gratitude. None of those thoughts could enter your head, otherwise you were a fool to yourself and to them. R.D.Laing: "... every day in every way, ah’m feeling be’er and be’er.” Frank Spencer: "Every day in every way I'm getting better and better."

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