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Educação em Revista

versão impressa ISSN 0102-4698versão On-line ISSN 1982-6621

Educ. rev. vol.34  Belo Horizonte  2018  Epub 18-Jan-2018 



Fernando Luiz Zanetti1  *

1Faculty of Education of the University of São Paulo (FEUSP), São Paulo - SP, Brazil


This article is part of a research that problematizes the encounter between art and education in Brazil in the last two decades as well as the role of psychology in this process. A critical cartography was perfomed through an archive containing a set of articles from academic journals approaching the relationship between art and education in a practical or theoretical way. Concomitantly, there was an attempt to capture the strategies by which the practices of art pedagogization are carried out and how the psychological discourse participates in its constitution. It was noted that from the encounter of art with some forms of psychology, comes the promotion of a device that takes the ethical and aesthetic values of the individual as an active process of constituting oneself as a subject via stimulation.

Keywords: Art; Education; Psychology; Pedagogization of art


O presente artigo é parte de uma pesquisa que problematiza o encontro da arte com a educação, no Brasil, nas últimas duas décadas e o papel da psicologia nesse processo. Realizou-se uma cartografia crítica por meio de um conjunto de artigos de revistas acadêmicas, que pautam de modo prático ou teórico essa relação entre arte e a educação. De modo concomitante buscou-se apreender as estratégias pelas quais se efetivam as práticas de pedagogização da arte e como a discursividade psicológica participa de sua constituição. Notou-se que a partir do encontro da arte com algumas formas da psicologia, promove-se um dispositivo que assume os valores éticos e estéticos do indivíduo como um processo ativo de se constituir como sujeito via uma estimulação.

Palavras-chave: Arte; Educação; Psicologia; Pedagogização da Arte

This article intends to make public some results of a research aimed at understanding some effects of the encounter between art and education in Brazil in the last two decades (1995-2013).

It starts from the suspicion that there would be, at such encounter, evidence of a practice of art pedagogization. Pedagogization conceived as the dissemination of statements from certain fields of knowledge (art, philosophy, science, etc.) to other areas of human life, in order to improve or educate the person, according to imperatives of the social, economic and political agenda of their time. Thus, the research is justified as a critical cartography of the encounter between the knowledge of art and of education. However, during the research, it was noticed that psychological theories were constantly called upon to justify such an encounter. Therefore, in the case of this study, criticism entails a questioning look on the education/art device, which seems to avail the psychological discourse as one of the active knowledge in its circulation.

To accomplish this task, an archive of empirical sources was created and analyzed. The notion of archive for this work is affiliated to the theories of Michel Foucault (1979; 2008).

The notion of archive, in this study, follows the strategy of the author’s genealogical research, assuming a condition of arbitrariness from a type of rationality, in the constitution of the researched corpus , of that which will appear or have visibility and formalization, based on the choice of documents that make up the archive.As the author points out in Archaeology of Knowledge , the historical work should not attempt to interpret a certain document and not to find out whether it speaks the truth or whether it has an expressive value, but “... rather to internally work and elaborate on it and establish in the “{...} documentary fabric itself, units, sets, series, relations” (2008, p.7).

Therefore, the construction of the archive demands the active positioning of the researcher, so as not to accept a supposed nature of facts. This is possible, given that in this analytical bias the veracity of the analytical corpus does not matter , but, as a given “discourse of truth” is linked to the present, how it becomes materiality or is updated, and how it forges thousands of interventions daily on the body of individuals.In addition, it is possible to affirm that the archive would consist of that which is possible to speak of and see, “{...} is the law of what can be said, the system that governs the emergence of statements as singular events” (2008, p. .147). In this sense, one should not look at what the archive exhibits as the truth that one wants to perpetrate, but understand how it is possible to see what constitutes it, and expose the rationality which allows one to see what is being seen. Thus, the archive would not hold the complete truth of a statement for future generations, but would activate and restrict what can be said and seen. It would indicate the rationality that makes see and speak, and how it would be composed into a “system of enunciability” (2008, p.147) - as one would define what can be said in the archive - and in a “working system” (2008 , p.147) - as how the statement would act in practices and the seen. Finally, the analyses of an archive would suggest the rationality that it conserves, that selects a type of exercise of power in the permanence and preservation of a form and an event, and that, in the case of this research, would be the process of pedagogization of art.

The archive in question combines the two fields of Brazilian intellectual production previously mentioned: art and education. In order to structure it, a set of articles published in 19 Brazilian periodicals, ten in the area of education and nine in the area of art, classified as A1 and A2, were selected dating from the period between 1995 and 2013, containing approximately 6,000 texts.

The journals are as follows: from the area of education - Cadernos Cedes, Cadernos de Pesquisa, Educação & Realidade, Educação & Sociedade, Educação e Pesquisa, Educação em Revista, Educação Temática Digital, Educar em Revista, Pró-Posições, Revista Brasileira de Educação. From the area of arts: Ars, ArtCultura, Percevejo, Porto Arte, Visualidades, Revista- ABEM - Associação Brasileira de Educação Musical, Revista Brasileira de Estudos da Presença, Urdimento, Sala Preta.

From this universe, 329 articles were selected, based on the following criteria: texts in periodicals in the area of ​​education touching themes related to art and texts in art magazines dealing with themes related to education. In order to analyze each article, the following organizational sieve was elected: year; area/sub-area; subject matter; role of art and teaching of art; characteristics of art and the teaching of art; displacement; problematization or general plan of the text.

By means of such general categories, it was possible to map the fundamental lines of the said archive; demarcate its forward and backward movements in relation to a particular subject, function or characteristic; locate some of the positions the researchers were in, and often glimpse the banners they carried. However, one of the most fruitful results of the research was the repeated and repetitive displacements between texts, making it possible to plot the argumentative lines operated by the various researchers and, especially, the problematizations they proposed.

Specifically for this article, we sought to explain the actions of some theories and practices of psychology in the process of pedagogization of art, commonly reiterated among the authors of art-education in the studied period. To explain this process, in this text, we chose as a starting point 45 articles from our corpus which bring into discussion, criticize or use concepts and practices referring to the psychological knowledge around what was circumscribed as a psychopedagogization of art.

When analyzing the articles selected for this text, at first, we noticed three specific movements within the archive. However, it is important to take it into account that no significant distinction was found in the incidence of psychological theories within the art and education periodicals.

1. First movement: the role of some psychological theories in the proposal of improvement to the teaching of arts

In the period between 1999 and 2008, there is a constant presence of texts that start from a stratum of knowledge linked to psychological theories, aiming at improving the teaching of arts. Those are texts written by scholars from the psycho-pedagogical or psychological field (SILVA, 1999), dedicated to disseminating this knowledge onto the field of education, so that art education professionals could improve their relationship with students. In general, these articles are aligned with one or some psychology theorists, in order to justify the existence of art or its necessity for the development, learning process and formation of a student, and then to state that both the art teacher and the artist should know some of the ins and outs of psychological thinking in order to better perform their activities. In other words, a reading of art from the point of view of psychological knowledge, intending to justify its existence, through socially legitimized psychological functions, attempting to indicate later on that the universe of art, as a whole, should rely on those functions. Thus, it is suspected that such attribution of psychological senses to art would enable the psychologist, the pedagogue, the occupational therapist, among other “care professionals”, to also guide it in order to improve practices concerning their professions both in and out of the school universe.

The justifications for the importance of the existence of art would be updated through roles and characteristics attributed to it, based mainly on the readings of authors connected to the psychological and psychoanalytic universe, such as Carl Rogers, Jean Piaget, Lev Vygotsky, John Dewey, Sigmund Freud and Carl Gustav Jung.

These functions are described with the purpose of improving the relations of the individual to be educated, acting in three ways: on his relationship with himself, his relationship with others and his relationship with the world of things and knowledge. The interventions of these art practices are supported in the articles under the idea of ​​a subject who, in learning in a productive way, would create and give meaning to his own existence and that of the surrounding world.

To exemplify, we will cite below some of the roles circulating the researched corpus: on the relation the subject has with himself, the authors emphasize the role of art as an enhancer of self-understanding and as a promoter of personal development, by allowing the artist to come into contact with his or her own life story and taking him or her inwards, to places they would have no access to otherwise. Or, more radically, art would have the role of teaching one about oneself, educating the sleeping part of the person and creating meaning for life (AMORIM, CASTANHO, 2006). There are authors who propose art as a stimulator of the higher psychological functions, besides being able to create a means of making flow the unconscious content to the conscious mind or activating the archaic (CLARKSON, 2004). Therefore, in this sense of an interiorization, the role of art in the development of consciousness is emphasized, in impinging oneself and opening oneself to the possible (SALGUEIRO, 2004), through promoting self-esteem, self-knowledge, personal growth, aesthetic pleasure, relaxation, stimulus to creativity, spontaneity, interpersonal integration, promoting a happier life (FUCCI AMATO; AMATO NETO, 2009) and, at the same time, through the production of a psychologically mature individual who is autonomous, self-assessed, responsible for their choices, free, flexible, creative and able to learn how to learn (GLASER; FONTERRADA, 2006).

Connected to what we outlined as the subject’s relationship with others, there are roles, such as sensitizing adults, teachers and parents, betting on their effective insertion into the process of child development and the production of psychologically mature and cooperative individuals (GLASER; FONTERRADA, 2006).

And on the relationship between the subject and the world of things and of knowledge - the latter mainly related to education -, there are roles such as: helping to reverse the process of school failure; providing creativity; the postures of questioning of confrontation and openness in the face of the new and the different, besides an appreciation based on the effective knowledge of the object (SILVA, 2004); re-signifying the world; producing strangeness; creating a broader way of approaching the educational phenomenon (AMORIM; CASTANHO, 2006); broadening the discussions in the process of creation and aesthetic experience; performing the mediation for a more pleasant learning, generating pleasure to break the automated perception of the everyday life, producing a cultural expansion of the student and creating in him or her the pleasure of learning (CABRAL, 2008a). In addition, these categories include the role of art as an aid to learning processes, aiming at stimulating the cognitive processes of reflection and analysis for the critical exercise of citizenship and assisting the production of a critical subject in relation to matters such as consumption of cultural material and media (COSTA, MARTINS, 2008). Finally, producing a subject capable of creating and realizing political actions of critical observation and stimulation of activity, in the social sphere.

These functions, with a psychological accent, attributed to art in order to justify its presence in the educational and social scope, were absorbed by the artistic practices. This is confirmed, for example, through the commitment of some researchers (SILVA, 2010) in emphasizing, in the various theories of art, the presence of psychological foundations and, with this, basing the argument according to which the art educator must know the material with which they work and allow art-education to think about the formation of the teacher and the citizen-artist.

2. Second movement: the presence of art in the resolution of problems produced within practices and knowledge of psychology

If, in the previous movement, the justification for the approximation between art and the various psychological and psychoanalytic theories went through the supposed necessity of art to be in contact with psy mastery in relation to the knowledge of teaching or how to transmit this knowledge of art more effectively, in the second movement, the presence of art is exposed as an aid to achieve objectives presented by psychologists who, according to some authors, place themselves in the search for the improvement of people and not art or its teaching (CABRAL, 2008b).

In this context, certain characteristics and functions would be proposed to art, based on psychological precepts, so that the forms of mediation between art and the artist also began to have procedures closely linked to the universe of clinical psychology and social psychology. These functions and characteristics were scarcely marked by educational purposes, in the strict sense, but they were launched in the field of expanded education for the production of citizenship, the stimulation of self-care and care towards others, the creation of meanings for life, the production of more critical postures etc. Such forms of mediation would create an art-education capable of responding to the changes arising from the inseparability of the cultural, personal and political dimensions, which, therefore, could be characterized by a post-modern view on art-education, that is, marked by re-reading, fragmentation, non-linear approach, appropriation of classical themes, constant change of perspective, interdisciplinarity, heterogeneity and interculturality (CABRAL, 2008b).

However, while mediation had a post-modern character, the functions would be the result of a mixture of modern propositions, such as the production of possibilities of one’s gaze into the interior of oneself, in order to allow one’s expression, and post-modern, such as the approximation of the daily art to the subject, the realization of the cognitive function of providing the student with the acquisition of knowledge, interacting with the work in a context (CABRAL, 2008b), as well as the function of promoting the development of abstract thinking and infantile graphics ( IAVELBERG; TRINDADE, 2009). These cognitive functions would be amplified by the idea that the presence of the art teacher is indispensable in the process of constructing intelligence, which is seen as a complex adaptation of the human being to the world (SANTOS, 2008).

In this perspective, unlike the previous movement, the vision of art proposes as its role, in the general scope of society: the transformation of knowledge into something interactive, constructive and relational; the adaptation of the human being to the world; the broadening of people’s references; the expansion of world view, allowing for exchanges, awareness and the creation of spontaneities (SANTOS, 2008), which would favor the cultivation of a sensitive being; the rapprochement of reason and emotion; integration of differences; production of balance; creation of spaces for encounters, exchanges and a sense of belonging to a group and the production of desire (OSTETTO, 2009). In the same sense, therapeutic roles for art are also highlighted (SILVA; SOUZA JUNIOR, 2009), where it is sometimes possible to unify it with health and education (TAVARES, 2009). However, in the area of ​​health, in addition to this therapeutic and individual sense, there are records of intervention in institutions of the medical care area, with the function of interfering in established rituals, in order to promote the humanization of these spaces and, thereby, make people happy or change their emotional state; carrying out a suspension of institutional space-time; transforming; producing reflection and impact on the coexistence (FREITAS, 2009). In short, there is a set of functions, practices and knowledge of art around all sorts of psychological concepts that have both the individual and his relation to the social world as an intervention plan.

The threshold of this process of creation of markedly psychological functions for art will be punctuated by the proposition of the blurring of the frontiers between art, psychology and pedagogy (ALBANO, 2010). This breaking of boundaries will be justified on the basis of authors such as John Dewey, for whom “{...} art is not part of a domain separate from the intellectual domain” and “artistic production is governed by general laws common to all other forms of knowledge and constitutes a form of knowledge, since mental processes of reasoning, memory, imagination, abstraction, comparison, generalization, deduction, induction, schematization are carried out”, and these are organized or related in the artistic work, according to the artist’s desire (AMORIM; CASTAMAN, 2006, p.1176).

However, as we enter the decade of 2010, although the discussion about the notion of art as a response to the problems produced within psychology practices and knowledge and the pursuit of the development of people remains, rather than of art or of an art to improve the human being, there is the small nuance of being more focused on education, even if posted in a broader sense. Near the year 2010, there is a strong emphasis on the need of art for teacher training, and again it is said that it would have the function of bringing sensitivity to the interior of the school, promoting autonomy, humanization and the creation process, allowing students to trace the unknown and enabling them to encounter the unconscious, activating other functions of the consciousness, besides thought (OSTETTO, 2009). Moreover, the practice of art in the school, characterized as a sensitive experiment, would have the function of making the subject talk about himself and, to speak of himself from another place, thus generating individuality, alterity and creativity (ALBANO, 2010). In continuity this reasoning, one ends up intensifying the function of art as a specific form of expression, with the possibility of favoring the student to realize projective identifications capable of bringing his inner world into identification with the external world and teaching him or her how to be authentic (PRICE, 2010). In addition, from the notion of expression, art would be used to work on losses, to cultivate secrets, dreams, desires, to promote a sensitive look, to welcome individualities and subjectivities, to create space for students to retell their history, identity, to connect with local and Brazilian cultures, to provoke thoughts and feelings and to understand aesthetics as a possibility to talk about oneself and as a way of relating to fears, ghosts and new joys (KOLB-BERNARDES, 2010). A conception of expression markedly psychological would be present, with the means of acting on the individual, on questions of his relation to himself.

Therefore, these texts would put into question the use of artistic activities inside the school as an educational practice motivating learning, social interaction and individual expression for the subjects (OLIVEIRA; STOLTZ, 2010) and affirm the various artistic modalities as language and as instrument for learning based on psychological theories about human development and art.

In line with this argument, it is stated that although child education is thought in a fragmented way (OLIVEIRA; STOLTZ, 2010), all aspects of it are nowadays understood as interrelated and interdependent, and development would imply stimulating the whole (OLIVEIRA; STOLTZ, 2010). For this reason, the school should provide students with activities that affect all spheres of their lives (emotional, social, motor and cognitive) so that they can be motivated to “... achieve much more than content” (OLIVEIRA; STOLTZ, 2010, p.78).

Finally, according to the authors of this second movement, art would have psychological functions more directly related to cognitive aspects, such as promoting human cognitive development, generalizing thinking and learning other disciplines, as well as functions related to the affective and emotional aspects of the student, such as promoting development of imagination, motivating learning (this, as social interaction and expression of interiority), increasing interest, giving social meaning to the individual, and alleviating distressing tensions before the meaning of existence; bringing about the generalization of individual feelings; expressing passions, promoting internalization of culture; seeing beyond appearances and acquiring better knowledge of oneself and of others.

3. Third movement or some anomalies in the archive: the use of the knowledge and practices of psychological theories as a response to problems produced by artistic practices

In this section, we will present something that could not be classified as a movement of meaning in the archive as in the movements before, but as “anomalies” compared to the general meanings of the texts in the archives, due to their scarcity and rarity.

This block is represented by only three texts, which are characterized by highlighting the presence of the knowledge and practices of psychological theories as a way of responding to problems produced within practices and knowledge of art, i.e., psychology as a type of aid in the accomplishment of actions concerned mainly with art or a profitable way of facing paradigms of art (ARAÚJO; CAVALCANTI; FIGUEIREDO, 2010). One of these texts stands out, contrary to what we have seen above, when it proposes man as a vehicle for the expression of art and not the opposite, as well as for using art in order to create and provide instruments for psychology and for man to self-think (BARCELLOS, 2004). From the relationship between Jungian thought and art, the researcher problematizes the notion of art in our society and presents it, differing from what Sigmund Freud affirms, as a symbol of something real and not as a symptom. According to the author, Jung will give the criticism of art the possibility of justifying, also psychologically, the importance of appreciating symbols and images. In this perspective, art would be characterized, in the wake of a universal notion of art, as a creative process that establishes a meaning or simply the act of giving shape to an abstract element or idea.

There is also a text (DOMENICI, 2010) based on authors such as Feldenkrais, Bartenieff, Alexander, Rolfing, Ann Halprin, Fortin, Klauss Viana, José Antônio Lima and Ilya Prigogine, which discusses the relationship between dance and somatic education, and the effects of this encounter on body awareness. This article does not come to be a critique of the psychologization of art, in the same intensity that we will see next, but, it advocates new uses for the body and movement, tending towards a critique of what is commonly called, in the field of dance, psychologizing readings of movement and of the body. This de-psychologization understands movement as sign and no longer as vehicle for feelings or stories. With this, dance would be free of representation and the body would also be conceived as an embodied process and would propose the concept of soma, instead of body awareness.


We can assert that the above mentioned movements create some meanings: first, a meaning that outlines the presence of theories of psychology, in order to improve the teaching of art. However, those speaking are always representatives of the psycho-pedagogical universe and not from the field of art. Later, from 2008 on, there was an inversion, with the presence of art as a response to the problems produced within psychology practices and knowledge, aiming at the development of people, not of art, and there is also a kind of generalization, in which the focus of statements ceases to be only school education and extends to other areas of life, even if, after 2010, a discussion about education resumes, now in a broader sense. And finally, in a scarce and dispersed way, throughout the period, there are some texts that propose the use of “psy” knowledge and practices as response to problems produced within the practices and knowledge of art, texts that are critical to the use of art by psychologizing readings and that aim at indicating a process of appropriation of art by education.

However, in addition to these movements of approximation and distance between psychology and art, there is an intense discussion about the notion of expression that would establish the presence of two poles: one that denies the use of art as an expression of self and another that reactivates intensely this discourse and these practices.

4. A single critical look at the encounter between the knowledge and practices of the teaching of art and the knowledge of psychological theories

Despite the three movements described above, there is José Resende’s text, a rarity, since it is the only one that presents a critical eye2, as conceptualized by Foucault (2000), on the relations between art and its process of psycho-pedagogy. Let us see, next, what the author points out:

In the university {...} the formation of an artist is thought based on two foundations: an exercise with language (the expressive manifestation) and a contact with a repertoire of knowledge that can determine an intention for this language (the speculative activity). These two approaches are dialectically related and cannot be thought of separately, or predominantly one over the other, at the risk of misunderstanding distortions: if a greater emphasis is given to exercise with language, what commonly occurs is a verification - compulsive - of the expressive capacities of the person, which in itself is not of interest to art, but to psychology. On the other hand, if a greater emphasis is placed on engaging in a proper intention, there is a risk of art becoming an illustration of problems unrelated to it, with no real conviction in the force of meaning which constitutes the use of language in itself - which is, essentially, to deny its existence as a form of thought.

Systematizing a knowledge that ultimately focuses on artistic expression in its concept, implies dissociating art from the mediations that are conferred to it, and thus the discussion of its real meaning in the contemporary world. In this sense, it implies raising the delicate question of the origin or viability, today, of artistic expression in the social process (which will include, among others, the problems raised by the “conceptual vanguard”, connoted only in its political intention and, duly consumed and diluted by the system).

On the other hand, art referring to its concept holds the possibility of being independently related to other areas of knowledge as reference frames - and not as justificatory schemes of its existence...

{...} knowledge of the language of art is not mandatory, but knowledge of its production process is required. In other words, it is demystifying the creative act as a magic act, the (revealed) access to values of “culture”; it is recognizing in art the configurative process of a vision, and not the pre-conquering act of intuition.

This issue raises, among others, the misunderstanding of “popular participation” and “collective creativity”, which gives art a didactic responsibility. Fundamentally and always, a simple defense of its superior status: encouraging the public to participate in the creative act is to expose them to ridicule, to imagine them imbeciles, to emphasize exactly the implicit concept in this didactic paternalism - culture/people - and to lose public interest on the real reasons for the work of art. (RESENDE, 2005, pp. 26-28, emphasis added).

Five points raised by the author are of paramount interest:

First, when Resende states that if, in a formation process, only expressive manifestation is emphasized, it becomes restricted to problems concerning psychology and not art, he indicates, from the outset, that there are uses for art with interests more closely related to the production of a subject of psychological practices and knowledge than of an artist or an art lover.

Second, a possible link between art practices and psychology practices would pass through the notion of expression. Generally speaking, all texts from the first and second movements deal with art as something that provides some psychological concept, such as the possibility of expressing oneself through body and speech, and being able to question barriers and models imposed by society etc. We have, therefore, an art affected by various psychological knowledges, which, in general, have the role of bringing balance between the possibilities of individuals freely placing themselves into the world and what the social world demands of them.

It is also interesting to us that when Resende asserts that, if in the process of formation of young teachers, only speculative activities occur, there is a risk of art becoming an illustration of problems unrelated to art itself, ceasing to be a form of thought. One common problem reiterated by art educators is the relegation of art and its teaching to a lower stand in school, but when art is taken only as an expression or just as an illustrative or didactic practice, is this not expected to happen, would this not be its only destiny? Nevertheless, none of the texts in our corpus propose a questioning for this use.

Third: in denouncing that art relates to other areas, not as a source of reference frames, but as justifying the reason for its existence, Resende points out the constant rooting and whimpering of art-education. When art is pedagogized, it tends to serve the interests and needs of the practices and knowledges of various theories of psychology and pedagogy. Under this contagion it is unable to create reference frames or simply thought-forms that could provoke change or provoke a noteworthy thought in other areas or subjects of human life and thus enters an eternal justification of its own existence. As pedagogical art, art would only have value as a didactic instrument or as an improvement or technical adequacy of individuals to the present modes of existence, and the whole series of functions and characteristics attributed to the art we have related above.

Fourth: in considering that art is not an intuitive process, but, that configures a vision, Resende criticizes the usual place of art as a failed production of knowledge, when compared to scientific practices, as well as suggests art as something closer, a product without the Benjaminian aura, without the weight of tradition or cultural value, or the need for a transcendent intuition, being art itself what creates the possibility of what can be seen in it; it is an immediate relationship. In this place, art would not serve as a means of knowing the world, but of producing visibility conditions for it.

Finally, we have Resende’s criticism of the didactic responsibility conferred to art, promoted by what he calls a misunderstanding of popular participation and collective creativity, in the creative act of art. For the author, the place of the public should not be the place of the artist as creator. What usually occurs is a seduction of the public by sharing the supposed blessings of the act of creating. With this, art ceases to be a mundane and trivial action like any human action and becomes understood as the supreme act of humanity.

5. The game of psychological concepts: expression, sensitivity and creativity

The problems listed by Resende impel us to inquire whether the link between psychology and the process of pedagogization would include an idea of ​​liberation through expression and the notions of sensitivity and creativity.

Attesting the basis of such doubts, there are authors within the corpus who affirm that, in order to be creative, we must leave the repressive state and free the unconscious, thus stipulating that art would have the function of releasing the subject’s internal sensitivity and content promoting innovation, creativity, knowledge of the internal and external worlds and improving the capacity to imagine and create realities (GAMBINI, 2010). These assertions would allow us to infer that a process of psycho-pedagogization of art would start from a liberation of expressiveness, which would increase the sensitivity of the subject, and this, in turn, would generate a more creative person. Therefore, this notion of liberated expression would become the core of the constitution process of the pedagogized subject and, from that, it would be possible to create beings who are more sensitive and consequently more creative.

In this sense, the notion of sensitivity appears in the texts from the corpus justified by a universal necessity to promote it, anchoring itself both in Kantian arguments of beauty and sensitivity as means of vision (PEREIRA, M., 2008) and affirming that it is a lingua franca of humanity, which, in contrast to education, believes in the intelligence of the other, and in texts that support the need to broaden social and human senses to maximize the sensitive potentiality of people, based on arguments of historic materialism, which ensure that liking is no longer subjective, but a socially objectified practice (SEBBEN; SUBTIL, 2010). Therefore, it is noted that the questions of sensitivity circulate among the most different theoretical circuits.

The notion of creativity is thus launched in the wake of this enhanced sensitivity. Various authors (CIRINO, 2010; GAMBINI, 2010; CUERVO; MAFFIOLETTI, 2009; TAVARES, 2003; PEREIRA, L., 2008; RODRIGUES, 2010), taking the notion of art as a sensitivity inspiring machine as a starting point, signal that art would have the role of producing creativity not only in the author of the work but also in its receptor. In this sense, they commonly criticize the lack of autonomy to interpret and the mechanical repetition of the formal education of art, indicating the creativity and the expression of oneself as a means to achieve a human development (KEBACH; DUARTE; LEONINI, 2010) better adapted to the present world.

Regarding the notion of expression, we were also able to observe that several articles are related to psychoanalysis and, when they mention liberation, they reproduce the repressive hypothesis and the necessity of liberation of the subject’s desires and talk of taboos.

However, in the late 1980s, art-education researchers pointed towards a change in the conception of expression. A kind of depersonalization, an expression of the subject, of his interiority, for an expression of gesture or of art.

Obviously, there are still some authors who work on the notion of the expression of interiority or, as they say, of art as an expression of subjectivity (KEBACH, 2009) or the expression as part of the dialectical game between the student’s inner and outer worlds, because, based on notions such as multiculturalism, it is not advisable to bring forward the foreign and restrict the student’s culture. However, the great majority of texts already suggest the substitution of the expression of the interiority of the subject for the expression of gesture or art.

Thus, first: art does not appear as a personalized expression of someone’s emotions, but as a vehicle for emotions or as expressiveness of gestures (VIEIRA, 2010; TAVARES, 2003); second: the reading of the work will be treated as a form of recreation according to the individuality of the student (TAVARES, 2003); and third: school and school ways of teaching art will be seen as something to be overcome, in the name of an education aiming at living the culture and not at learning an artistic form (COELHO, 2010).

Therefore, there is no novelty in this change from the expression of interiority to expression as an artistic gesture, since in the period covered by this research corpus, most texts already allude to expression as expression of art. In this sense, it is important to emphasize that, since 1970, these changes have been on the agenda of art-education and that of art-educators, such as Ana Mae Barbosa (1982, 1994, 1998, 2001), and have since reflected on the need for expression as an expression of the subject to be overcome, in the process of transition from modern art-education to post-modern art-education. Since the early 1970s, Barbosa has represented a group of authors (DIAS, 1999; FUSARI, FERRAZ, 2001; GUIMARÃES; NUNES; LEITE, 1999; IAVELBERG, 2003; MOREIRA, 1984; OSTETTO; LEITE, 2004) who discuss the expression of the subject or, as she names it, a creative or radical self-expression typical of modern art-education, in order to, at the end of 1980, propose a post-modern strategy for teaching art-education, the Triangular Proposal, according to which the expression of the subject would be subsumed in the artistic work contextualized and backed by the readings or analyses of works of art.

However, in both forms of expression, the notion of liberation of the unconscious or of a desire remains, and it can be pointed out, through the use of psychoanalytic jargon, that one would be in the liberation dimension of the Freudian unconscious (repressive hypothesis) and the other one, supported by some authors by the notion of Jung’s collective unconscious (GAMBINI, 2010).

For the post-modern conception, the liberated expression should undergo a process of apprehension and closure, based on studies for historical contextualization and activities of appreciation, generating an appreciation of the artistic expression and not the expression of the subject. With these changes and the development of the expression of art, Barbosa, along with other scholars of art-education, mentioned above, believed that it would be possible to interrupt what she conceived as a pedagogized teaching of art. The pedagogization of art teaching was characterized by the author (2008: 4) as follows: the artistic practices would not reflect the specificity of art; the uses of art practices in the school would be carried out in an instrumental way in order to train the eye and the vision; there would be uses of artistic practices as the mere liberation of an emotional psychic function; the objective of using art practices, was the development of avant-garde originality and creativity conceived as beauty or novelty, so the classroom activities resulting from such conceptions would be characterized by the resumption of geometric design, by learning the pedagogical design and by copying prints to be used in other disciplines.

According to the analyzed articles, this form of pedagogization has been mostly overcome. However, at the same time it has been overcome, its product appears to have been co-opted or appropriated by certain lifestyles made available to individuals. The notion of gesture or art expression in Barbette’s post-modern conception seems to have been neutralized in its coping power. There are indications that today these conceptions have become instrumental to a kind of expressive, sensitive and creative subject that we all ought to be. In this way, even the depersonalization of the subject’s expression or a certain nonsense, coming from the possibilities of a new body without a self in art, brings forward greater possibilities for creating new objects of consumption, new ways of life, a new policy for desires and so on, and continue to participate in creating the need to generate more sensitive and creative people, situations or objects.

In a sense, what these texts, favorable to an expressive liberation, do is question the notion of repression and affirm that art can be an instrument for talking about repressed taboos and desires, but perhaps the work is produced without realizing that in doing so, it spreads other mechanisms of self-control and production of life management, through ethical and aesthetic commitments. When subjects start using art to express themselves and become more sensitive and creative, they begin to operate as anti-repression militants and end up as managers or owners of themselves, responsible for their own creative production capacity and for the organization of their social environment. Classifying art as a form of liberation from repression would perhaps be a way of sophisticating, capillarizing and updating the management of the individual, not from a disciplinary or strictly economic logic, but as an ethic and aesthetics of the self (GADELHA, 2009).

Therefore, most conceptions of artistic expression, today, have responded to the needs of a subject absolutely harmonized with the adaptive requirements in order to reach a level of normality. To be normal is to be expressive, sensitive and creative.

This can be attested, for example, through what has been most recently set by performance thinkers. They suggest the concept of performance in the view of educational practices and, with this, seek to redefine educational practice as an aesthetic principle, to signal the expressive character of educational action and to propose a performative pedagogical practice. This pedagogue performer aims at creating a critical pedagogy, resistant and contrary to self-assured and reproductive thinking. This teacher would be someone who plays and dismantles the crystallized order, who aims at a pedagogy anchored in the materiality of the world, who expands the experience of being, who aims at reflexivity, communication and updates the individual in the face of himself; they would still be professionals who break the norm and the historically constituted discourses, who are able to re-dimension perception, break with the discourse of academic and redemptive art, to shape a society which is intolerant to the different and the strange and are able to explain life (PEREIRA, 2012a).

However, as one of the authors of one of the analyzed texts (NICHOLSON, 2007) asserts, based on the critique of the psychologized notion of creativity advocated by Howard Gardner, betting on creativity in education, in the cultural sector, or in the encouragement of a creative ethos as a means of urban regeneration would entail the creation of a form of vigilance of the relationship between creativity, citizenship and community and the preparation of a worker prepared to do flexible and creative work, or of being the entrepreneur himself. Under the promise of free, autonomous, pleasant, expressive and creative work, a docile subject is produced. However, what this author suggests is the return of social critique of art to radicalism, which, as we have seen above, would lead to its dissolution as a way of thinking and proposing new worlds and would become a reciter of solutions of problems formulated by other people’s knowledge. From this perspective, replacing the idea of a psychopedagogized art, which encloses the notions of creativity, sensitivity and expression, within the subject, with a radically social art would not be a reasonable way out.

Finally, in the encounter between art and some forms of psychology, a device that takes the ethical and aesthetic values ​​of the subject as a mode of consented or even desired subjection was promoted, or perhaps not even a subjection, but an active process of being constituted as subject via stimulation. By influencing man’s educational forms with precepts linked to intimacy and individuality, psychological theories have succeeded in inoculating a project of man driven by individualized values but who at the same time corresponds to the values of a society that keeps their subjects free, questioning, and critical as models. And in this context of learning such a way of life, art becomes a very powerful instrument, due to some characteristics that were attributed to it in the twentieth century, such as plasticity, the ability to mutate (FARINA, 2011), the questioning, resistance and expressiveness. Therefore, psychological knowledge, which first approaches the teaching of art in order to improve it, over time, already uses it as a dissipative of its methods and ways of thinking the human being.

However, there may be a certain misconception in all of our reflection, for it is possible that it is not exactly the expansion of psychology and its interests that we are discussing, but simply the expansion of a kind of subject or man who it has helped to affirm, a man who has value as an individual or an element of a population, where value is in his existence, in itself, and not only in things that he is able to produce and which become autonomous and free from their creator, throughout time, as, for example, the practices of art. We could note that, within the pedagogization of art, there is a competition between the interests of the subject, represented here by psychology, and art, which can create fewer and fewer reference frames, be autonomous and think things that this psychologized man is not able to think. As far as we could go with the analysis, it was possible to see that there is an overwhelming majority of authors who bet on an idea of art as an instrument that improves man and a rarity of those who question whether this way of seeing art would be restrictive, because it would delimit the unknown worlds that it could casually create or, as Nietzsche (1998, p.163) would say, would kill the Throw of Dice beforehand.


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1Part of the research data in which this paper is inserted has already been published in the Annals of SBECE of 2015. Research funded by the São Paulo Research Foundation - FAPESP.

2 Foucault (2000, p.170) states that to carry out criticism is to produce “a watch over a domain which it really wants to police but where it is not able to lay down the law”; it is an instrument for a transformation or a truth that most probably will never be achieved. For the author, Modernity brought the condition of questioning the truth and its statutes, mainly regarding the conditions of its production. Therefore, criticism is the act of thinking publicly about a particular problem and, within its limits, it would mean the act of not being governed. “Not being governed by an unjust law”, “not accepting a truth because an authority says it”, or “refusing the ecclesiastical magisterium” are historical forms of performing criticism and of a rights movement that “the subject gives himself the opportunity to question truth and its exercise of power and to question power on its exercise of truth” (Foucault, 2000, p. 172).

Received: August 24, 2016; Accepted: August 10, 2017

Contact: Fernando Luiz Zanetti - Rua Professora Dona Candinha, 205 - Tênis Club, Assis|SP|Brasil, CEP 19.806-390


PhD in Psychology from the Faculty of Sciences and Letters of Assis - Unesp - Assis and postdoctoral degree from the Faculty of Education of the University of São Paulo - FEUSP. E-mail:<>.

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