Kunsttheorie: Jelica Šumič Riha
Lacan‘s Passion for the Real
What is the peculiar evocative force of the notion of the real? According to Badiou, the “passion for the
real” animated all the subversive inventions of the 20th century – from psychoanalysis to revolutionary politics.
Rather than succumbing to the temptation of forcing appearance in order to accede to the real suppsed to
be lurking behind it – an endeavour which can only engender devastating consequences – for Lacanian psychoanalysis the access
to the real is that of the semblance.
While one of my aims in this lecture is to briefly outline the development
of Lacan’s rather peculiar “realism” and to draw attention to some difficulties that highlight the ambiguity that the notion
of “realism” has in psychoanalysis, I would also wish to emphasise the relation between the real and the semblance as being
the crux of Lacan’s later teaching. Indeed, for psychoanalysis, the question of the real is inseparable from the interrogation
of the semblance, a term forged by Lacan in the last period of his teaching in order to rework the relation between the symbolic
and the real. As I will try to elaborate in this lecture, the relationship between the real and the semblance is relevant
to numerous contemporary discourses, but it is only in psychoanalysis that this problem is raised to the level of one of the
central theoretical and practical issues. There is indeed a special problem with the relationship between the real and the
semblance in psychoanalysis.
Omnipresent, unsettling, yet unresolved, this problem comes to the fore at critical moments
in the history of psychoanalysis, thereby marking turning points at which the orientation of psychoanalysis is at stake.