INTERVIEW WITH MIGUEL OSCAR MENASSA
FOR PÁGINA 12 NEWSPAPER,
BY FLORENCIA GEMETRIO - 29.08.2003 -
Painter, writer and psychoanalyst by vocation, acting both in Buenos Aires and in Madrid, Miguel Menassa anticipates a feminine revolution -No, it isn't the revolution of the fifties nor the sixties- which will start with poetry and will even put an end to capitalistic comfort. Everything according to himself.
The feminine gaze from an oil painting dominates the central space in the Northern District. An elderly man remains seated by the painting. There is something from him in the gaze. Miguel Menassa, that man is the painter. But he is not only a painter but also a psychoanalyst, a poet and a writer. He says he was born twice: in Buenos Aires and in Madrid, where he lives since his exile in 1978. He has dedicated himself to the research of women for over 35 years. His production combines psychoanalysis and art. The results of that realisation are condensed, innovative and chaotic, in The Woman and I, a book of poems which was analysed in the last International Congress organised by Cero Group Psychoanalysis and Poetry School. The encounter took place the last weekend in the San Martín Cultural Centre, where almost 500 participants reflected about sexuality, feminine pleasure and a particular vision about the female revolution. Menassa's vision.
In the book there are masochist, domineering, miserable, ambitious, docile, glamorous and violent women. There are submissive, aggressive, feminine, conceited, male chauvinist and repulsive men. There are characters possessed by banal fantasies that chat in imaginary dialogues without mediation. There are no impossible or possible loves because there is no one idea of love but multiple concepts in which the protagonists are diverse characters. But none of them is resumed in specific masculine or feminine stereotype. Menassa defends all of them with rigour during the interview. He says that they are symbols of an epoch, this one, even though he does not identify himself with them. He says that they are part of "the poetic production which will lead a new revolution which will be commanded by women".
- What would that be about?
- A woman has to formulate her own thesis about how life should be lived, how she should work and what to do with the produce of work, because she's the only one who can revolutionise sense. She has to end being an object of desire and become a desiring individual. Women have participated in men's revolutions but they have never fought their own. Those processes didn't belong to them. They were congruent with a masculine modality which were excluding of thinking reality. Masculine revolutions have already failed. Christianity failed, Marxism should be revised because it failed in the intention of making it a state policy and the capitalistic society of comfort failed. None of them could manage women and men's lives. And we are in the same place as 500 years ago.
- What then could be achieved?
- A project where the woman can be protagonist of the movements which originate changes in society. I don't know how it might be but I think it will be led by poetry. It wasn't easy for me to write the poems because I don't agree with anything I wrote, but the poet is a snitch of his time, of the world we live in, definitively, he's a historian. Every revolution was anticipated by a poet and I believe woman is creating her poem.
- Which would be the link between poetry and that change?
- There is an irredeemable likelihood between poetry and interpretation in psychoanalysis. Both are instruments which unveil the mysteries of reality. They are liberating. For Lacan, the unconscious structures itself like a language. I think it is structured in the shape of poetry. And if it is possible to change language, it is possible to change reality. If there is interpretation, the individual already changed and, in the present systems, that means living in a world which isn't this one.
-Would the women and men in your book form part of this reality?
- Stereotypes are formed and produced by the ideological models of the State. But in the book there are as many stereotypes as poems and in addition, because there are several that speak among themselves, as well. If we consider this, then we could say there is a rupture of those stereotypes for any relationship. There isn't an unique way of relationship. Just as heterosexuality and homosexuality don't exist in themselves but what exists is the search of man and woman. Heterosexual and homosexual relations that always evolve in the same way are perverse as any other thing that always evolves in the same way. Only a pervert can stand that the only thing which produces desire in him is red panties.
- What is the importance of words in couple relationships?
- In reality couples don't talk. And that is the step forward that the book takes: even those relations which seem stereotyped aren't so, because woman and man can talk. This produces a change because people enjoy more when more words are used. Love revitalises itself and illnesses are cured with words. There are people who delay their death only to hold a conversation. Why? Because the real human pleasure is to be able to say and do what words build around me. If woman would indulge in speaking at home, at work, she would be constructing the real feminine revolution while she would be expressing what she really is.