The Parallel Worlds of Emotional and Unconscious Realms
Sabine Schaschl-Cooper

Julie Hayward’s sculptures and sculptural installations are "sculptures of emotion" that express something psychological with room-filling formations alluding to biological, everyday, surreal or lab-like shapes. If one looks at the development of her oeuvre, from the early works in the late 1990s to the most recent ones, one is struck by the transition from self-contained shapes to open ones in which inside and outside merge, from the use of more compact, heavy material to various light ones that often appear in mixed form. Parallel to the development of sculptures, her drawings have also undergone a change. These drawings have been an integral part of her sculptural work from the very beginning.

In the early drawings Hayward focused on specific issues and documented ideas related to implementing them in sculpture in drawings. She didn’t just draw the sculptural piece but also its placement and the surrounding space. This form of classical sketch began to change from 2000 when she conceived her "Informationsassimilator". Since then, the artist has been after themes and their implementation in sculpture, allowing for a sort of psychological automatism in her composition. This liberating move has enabled her to recompose things she had intellectually assimilated or collected in the unconscious and things that had become conscious in the form of pictures. As Jean Starobinsky emphasizes in "Psychoanalysis and Literature", automatism facilitates "the emergence of the idea in an original state", and this original thing brings forth new forms, contents and related connotations in her drawings and sculptures.

The perception of reality, its different appearance and the questioning of valid notions of reality are characteristic of the artist’s early work in particular. "Sleeping along …" from 1998, a suspended sculptural installation in which porcelain fish swim about in a transparent bubble, offers a snapshot view of an existential view of reality. In this piece the artist has created a psychological portrait of being a prisoner of one’s one idea of reality which struggles with the knowledge of an outer reality without being able to break out of an inner refuge. The communication between both states of reality is based on a sublimated level where the perception of the other is thrown back to the perceiving I. "It has to do with wanting something, being awake and getting away from it all, it has to do with being caught up in one’s own sense of reality which, if one gets too caught up in it, is almost like being asleep." (Julie Hayward)

The metaphorical escape from the ego-centric reality that recedes into the background succeeds in "My Personal Rockets", 1999. Here the "personal rockets" undergo metamorphoses that remain in various states between fish and rocket. This spectrum of expressive forms ranges from something covered with gills or held at bay by a ring to the powerful rocket ready to be launched – forms that gradually seem to fight their way to freedom. In addition to the power of escape, there is also a potential for aggression that comes to bear. This potential can assume both productive and destructive connotations.

Perceptions of reality are also addressed in "Wir unter uns", 2000. This piece, however, does not explore individual perceptions but those of a group. The floor sculpture consists of ten bulbous formations covered with mouthlike orifices and thorns that are arranged in a seemingly hermetic circle. The back side that faces the viewer, the thorns and the circular arrangement of the sculpture evoke the impression of defence and exclusion. Julie Hayward refers to Plato’s cave parable. Here a group of people who grew up in a cave take ideas, thoughts to be the real world and the actual outside world to be the shadow of these thoughts and ideas. Plato stated that even if one member of the group were to leave the cave and to recognize the real world, this person would see this insight as being false and would return to the perception of the group. Applying Plato’s insight to the functioning of society within economic structures has resulted in a principle which Irving Janis has described as "groupthink". In homogenous groups with too much self-referentiality solutions suggested from the outside are refused and prevented, which often leads to false decisions. Hayward’s sculptures visualize that potential situation. She addresses both the sense of being safe and sound within the group and the hermetic exclusion. "Wir unter uns" does not just deal with a concrete issue taken from concrete, psychological research. It also reflects a society today in which the "alien", the "other" is not accepted.

With the group of sculptures titled "Core-Protector" (2000) and "Inside-Out" (1999), she turned thematically to the "inner life" or the question of the psychological development of the self, working for the first time with transparent materials. In "Core-Protector", a zeppelin made of paper and covered with circular openings wraps a core of red plush. Like "Inside-Out", this hanging sculpture reveals the inside, emphasizing it with the color and the haptic quality of the plush material – which invites one to touch and analyze it. The title "Core-Protector" alludes to "core energetics", a scientific theory, in which Pierrakos, a student of Wilhelm Reich, assumes that the psychological core of a person is surrounded by protective layers and energy. In disturbances, these layers become congested and can thus block the flow of energy. In her sculpture the artist alludes not only to this model but also to a general emotional situation in which feelings can be exchanged. In "Inside-Out" a red tube made of plush juts out from the inner core, which has been cut in half, and extends to the ceiling to which it tries to dock onto.

What was only alluded to in this sculpture, actually succeeds in "Suck", 2000. In this sculpture, an eggshaped form that has a small opening, two tentacles with a suction cup at each end meet with the walls. "Suck" addresses the phenomenon of memories, images, utterances, feelings of the past that take hold of one or one takes hold of oneself, which in both cases hinders one from "being in the here and now" (Julie Hayward).

A further sculpture, "Informationsassimilator", deals with filtering information. Four oval forms with large openings that are mounted onto a gray plush surface on the wall, seem to take in all sorts of impressions and information that all lead to a larger, organ-like structure placed on the plush. A circular plush rug in front of this center piece could be the result, spit out, of the filtering process, symbolizing both of what has been filtered and what has been digested. For the first time Hayward integrates in these works machine aspects. The sculptures evoke the representation of abstract processes of the human emotional world which, when accompanied by humor and irony, often seem to carry these emotions to an extreme.

"Sublimator" (2003) is the sculptural version of a machine. Its functioning is feigned, the processes could only be carried out on a metaphorical and intellectual level. A heart-shaped, red element in a white receptacle is supposedly "processed" in this work – that is to say, passed on in a form driven by centrifugal force which finally brings forth a read endless tube. As alluded to by the title, the work addresses the sublimation known from Freudian psychoanalysis in which sexual energies are lived out on a different level. In "Sublimator", the sexual energy, alluded to by the heart shape, is transformed into a mass commodity that is always available.

If the initial energy in "Sublimator" is redirected and changed, it erupts like a volcano in "… elsewhere" (2004). A sort of black cauldron that tapers off towards the top spits out balls rolled onto long iron wire threads. The balls are with the exception of a few caught on two dishshaped receptacles.

This eruptive force contrasts with the figure "big mama" (2004) which consists of the same materials. "big mama", a sort of semi-circular cradle figure consisting of black patent leather, carries in both of her inside bodies a large collection of balls that are guarded and protected from the outside world. The balls as part of the self experience both the escape and the liberation as something protective, even maternal.

Hayward’s sculptures are spatial images of psychological processes. Whereas the earlier works still touched on general views of perception and reality, the more recent works deal with psychological constructions, inner processes and existential issues. Constant self-observation, literature research and the liberation of unconscious energies – generated from the drawings created in a process of psychological automatism – have an impact on the sculptures. The artist links familiar elements with alienating ones and with such that irritate perception. The often bizarre titles provide some orientation. Hayward’s sculptures explore states that cannot be clearly grasped. With her idiosyncratic sculptural means the artist attempts to put down something unfamiliar. For the onlooker the works function as a mirror image of the psyche which can be confronted or evaded.

Printed in:
Julie Hayward, Skulpturen und Zeichnungen / Sculptures and Drawings, self-publication, Vienna 2005, ISBN 3-200-00322-7