Art is a very personal experience. One way we can experience a piece of art is through symbolism. Carl Jung from the book Man and His Symbols believes that “Man, with his symbol-making propensity, unconsciously transforms objects or forms into symbols (thereby endowing them with great psychological importance) and expresses them in both his religion and visual art” (Pg. 257). An example of symbolism in art could be the colour red. The colour red may represent love, suggested by images of a red heart or rose. The colour red may also symbolize violence and death which may be understood when looking at an image of blood. The mice in the installation Mouse in House may allude to many symbolic themes allowing the viewer to make their own interpretation.
Are the mice nice or not? According to Jung “In itself, an animal is neither good nor evil; it is a piece of nature. To put it another way, it obeys its instincts” (Pg. 265). An interpretation of mice from The Book of Symbols suggests that mice “can signify wealth, good luck and abundance” yet also they can be considered “secretive creatures active after dark…associated with subversive occult forces and devouring influx” (Pg.291, 292). Mice certainly do have an image problem. It is this mixed perception that I find fascinating and will create an atmosphere for the show that gives each viewer the ability to construct their own meaning.
Man and His Symbols 1964 Edited by Carl Jung. Dell Publishing, 750 Third Avenue, New York, NY
The Book of Symbols Reflections on Archetypal Images 2010 Archive for Research in Archetypal Symbolism (ARAS). China