The Life and Works of Peter Hand

Views of the Anima

Archetype

During my therapy sessions I had been urged to think about this Archetype, as being, perhaps, the most relevant to a man. The Anima carries the imprint of mans' experience of the feminine throughout human racial memory - both positive and negative. Mother, lover, courtesan and witch, all aspects are to be found there.

At this stage in my therapy I was most aware of her beneficial aspects - comforting and caring - and I made my first sculpture representing the Anima, called the Shower. The symbolism of this piece is that the figure has just emerged from water ( the Unconscious)and is standing on a Mandala pattern on the floor ( representing Wholeness).

I visited this theme many times subsequently, with desirable ladies emerging from water.

Manipulator

If this Archetype gains a strong foothold in a man's psyche it can influence his decisions and behaviour in, often, reckless and unfortunate ways.

I have represented this aspect of the Anima in two sculptures. The first - Green Shutters - shows her quietly manipulating her "puppet" inside a building whose decorative walls show images of many legendary dangerous ladies. In the second the puppeteer blatantly controls an old man, against panels suggestive of the follies of old age.

Negative Aspects

In Jung's view the Collective Unconscious - these primitive racial memories - embodies an awareness of the Archetypes, as demonstrated in the religions, legends, folk-stories and fairy-tales in all cultures of the world. Whether it be the Virgin Mary, the Hindu Kali, other forms of Earth Mother, or the old woman in an attic spinning out human destiny, the motif in many European tales.

My sculpture "Circle Dance" displays an image of the Great Mother, circled by her acolytes, balefully surveying the scene. Giver of Life and of Death, unmoved by pain, suffering, joy or any other human emotion, she remains eternally indifferent.

In "the Spinner" the bad fairy is up to nothing good!

The Erotic

As the Anima represents all aspects of the feminine, I could not disregard her sexuality. Most overtly occurring in personal dreams but in a more general sense in male fantasies. Judging by the number of artists in the sexually repressed 19th Century who produced imaginary pictures of exotic life in Oriental harems there must have been a demand from their patrons for such stimulation.

I could not resist the challenge when asked by the Museum of Erotic Art in Copenhagen to make a sculpture on this theme. Against a richly decorative background I envisaged an Odalisque being pampered by her African slave-girl.

"Midnight Visitor" alludes to man's occasional experience of the Anima through powerful erotic dreams. The Anima has no scruples in strengthening the bond between a man and his feminine side.

© Peter Hand 2020
Designed and built by Paul Newlin