Erotic Utopia – Wilhelm Reich’s influence on Danish Surrealism

Activity: Talk or presentation typesLecture and oral contribution

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Camilla Skovbjerg Paldam - Invited speaker

It is a well-known fact that French surrealism of the 1920s and 30s had a strong emphasis on eroticism, but the radical utopian turn surrealist eroticism got when it reached Denmark in the beginning of the 1930s warrants further investigation. Danish artist Vilhelm Bjerke-Petersen (1909-1957) was the first to write a comprehensive introduction to Surrealism in a Nordic language, namely the book Surrealismen. Livsanskuelse. Livsudfoldelse. Kunst (Surrealism. Outlook of life. Conduct of life. Art), 1934. In this talk I will investigate Bjerke-Petersen’s erotic utopia, focusing on the impact Wilhelm Reich’s psychoanalytical theory had on his ideas. My claim is that the inspiration from Reich informed Bjerke-Petersen’s focus on sexual liberation, in contrast to French surrealism which was more inspired by Freud. Where Freud saw a need for the Superego in culture, Reich suggested that a liberated, ‘natural’ sexuality would free mankind of any impulses to violence and suppression and lead to a classless society.

Invited speaker. Lecture hosted by School of Arts, University of Kent
27 May 2015

Event (Seminar)

TitleKIASH visiting scholar
LocationUniversity of Kent
CountryUnited Kingdom


ID: 96033698