TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (AP) - What might this be?
That’s a basic question asked of people taking a Rorschach inkblot test.
The same question could be asked for the Psychodiagnostik exhibit on display through May 9 at the Swope Art Museum in Terre Haute.
Psychodiagnostik celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Rorschach Test by presenting abstract art in the Swope’s permanent collection.
While the works in the exhibit are not actual inkblots from the test, they are abstract and ask the observer what can be seen in the art.
“After 100 years of use, the Rorschach test is still one of the most researched measures of personality,” said Edward Trover, the Swope’s curator of collections and exhibitions.
“The inkblots are abstract paintings in their own right. Using the framework of the test, expressing what you see in other works of abstract art can show more of yourself than your conscious self can see, in turn giving better insights into underlying motivations of your current issues and thoughts.”
The test was created by Swiss psychiatrist Hermann Rorschach and released in 1921 in his book “Psychodiagnostik.” The book contained the results of Rorschach studies on patients, and 10 inkblot cards became the foundation of that test.
Dr. Elizabeth O’Laughlin, a licensed psychologist and professor at Indiana State University, has been teaching a course on the Rorschach test since 1995. It remains a valuable assessment tool for people with personality disorders, she said.
O’Laughlin led an online presentation about the test in February, and shared how the Swope exhibit relates to elements of the test.
A booklet created by Trover explains elements of the exhibit, and how the test is administered. It also contains a brief biography of Rorschach and his work on the test.
Trover said the exhibit was curated because the inkblot test has become a cultural icon. He selected abstract works that could apply the properties of the Rorschach analysis.
“It’s just another angle of looking at art, through another lens,” Trover said.
The Swope Art Museum is open noon to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays.
For more information, visit swope.org.
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