“Crashing Out with Sylvian : David Bowie, Carl Jung and the Unconscious” by Tanja Stark

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Tanja Stark 2015

David Bowie inhabits Carl Jung’s world of archetypes, reading and speaking of the psychoanalyst with a passion.”  Tony Oursler 2013

The haunting figure of an intubated, dystopian and alienated creature inhabiting ‘Ashes to Ashes’ (1980) world of religious, sci-fi and industrial imagery, singing of Major Tom’s trajectory like some perpetually unconsummated rapture is a poignant image in David Bowie’s oeuvre. No longer worldly, not quite heavenly, but suspended in some purgatorial cursed space in between, it is hypnotic, erotic and somewhat psychotic.

Yet contained within the cryptic layers of ‘Ashes to Ashes’, with its alluring convergence of iconography, symbols, sound and vision, lie essential thematic concerns that repeatedly permeate Bowie’s prodigious output and have intrinsic parallels with ideas in Jungian psychology; a profound engagement with the Unconscious, a complex relationship with the Numinous [i], tension between opposing polarities (the celestial and the chthonic, visceral and cerebral, sarx and…

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