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Lewis Sparrow

Throughout the years Lewis Sparrow’s practice has been ever changing and adapting to his ongoing research centralised around Surrealism, more specifically automatism. Recently Sparrow has been drawing upon these subjects in relation to Hermann Rorschach’s study into ink blot tests; the subject’s perceptions of ink blots are recorded and then analysed using psychological interpretation and algorithms. They were also used by psychologists to examine a person’s personality characteristics and emotional functioning.

This interest in personal perception and experience carries over into Sparrow’s study of automatism, which as a process allows the unconscious mind to have great sway revealing themes and issues lodged deep within the individual’s unconscious. This is best described by French poet André Breton’s definition of Surrealism as “Psychic automatism in its pure state…the actual functioning of thought. Dictated by thought, in the absence of any control exercised by reason, exempt from any aesthetic or moral concern” (Breton, 1924).

Similarly Rorschach’s ink blot test examines the personality characteristics and emotional functioning of the individual. It’s considered ‘projective’ because the patient is supposed to project their personality and ideas into the ink blot via interpretation. Collectively these theories started a process, as the physical forms derive from a series of ink blot pieces that were produced automatically using Indian ink on serviette.

Robyn Bailey