Visual Example of the 3 Lacanian Orders – UPDATED

October 29, 2008

Imaginary, Symbolic and Real. This three orders might not be easily graspable, but a visual metaphor should help. Imagine a photo,like this:

Your imaginary understanding of the picture would be that there is Salvador Dalí down there and a couple of women forming a skull-like human sculpture. Your Symbolic understanding would be to intellectually locate Dalí, and that this picture of group of women was used for the thriller/horror movie’s poster, namely The Silence of the Lambs:

on the butterfly, one can identify the picture

And the third order(Real) gives us no chance to visualize itself. Because it is what we can NOT observe, something, which is outside of our perceptual apparatus. It is on the picture, but we can NOT locate this perspective.

The Real is -though can not be represented or be integrated into the Symbolic, we might have a chance to illustrate the connection between the Symbollic and the Real. As Žižek points out, the interwining position of the two is represented by Malevich’s painting Black Square. The painting represents the kernel of the Real (white field), the center of which there is the black square – the sinthome– around which cohere the other three orders.

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4 Responses to “Visual Example of the 3 Lacanian Orders – UPDATED”

  1. Benyo Says:

    To be honest, the first post that really grasped my attention. I’ll have to go back to read all of them! 🙂

  2. Laura Says:

    Yes, I did see your post when I found your excellent blog. The image of Dali also grabbed me. Zizek’s examples are a great bridge to Lacan and I will certainly be using his explanation of Malevitch’s Black Square when I do my course. Bit, I have to say, I am more interested in the opposite approach, that is, how artists see psychoanalysis. Have a look at this to see what I mean: http://lauragonzalez.co.uk/two-impossible-films/

    I did get Lacan’s book and I am half way through it. It has some flashes of genius and I think it will be a great tool for my students but I am still going to make them read Lacan, straight on, mean teacher that I am…

  3. eldritch00 Says:

    I’m really enjoying your blog (Lacan, auteurism, Kristeva, etc.), but for now, I just want to direct you to the poster for The Descent.

    • kelemenzsolt Says:

      Thank You very much! and also the link! Checked it already and I was delighted to see the infos on Dalí’s painting, as well!


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