Art as “The Third Skin”:

A Methodology for Exploring “Spatial Repetition” in Trauma


  • Shira Berger Bar-Ilan University



This article explores the potential of using art-based research to analyze repetitive paintings made after trauma, to understand psychological mechanisms that stem from the body. To this end, I propose a multi-disciplinary approach combining psychoanalysis and art, to describe the concept of the “third skin,” as a psychological-spatial repetitive mechanism originating in the body and stiving towards healing, which is activated following trauma and manifested materially in art. The foundation for this lies in a spatial etiology that I have identified in trauma, which I have named “spatial repetition,” and which provides the basis for a methodology that enables to see repetitive artwork as a visual embodiment of repetition in trauma, as well as a lens through which to understand it.