Peter Ehrenhaus is a professor of communication and writes very interesting things about silence and symbolic expression. He says that silence can be an object or an encounter. With an encounter meaning can arise in silence between the individual and the object experienced as silent.
He is not a psychologist and presents his ideas in terms of just symbolic communication. One can present his ideas in psychological terms. In silence a person is afforded the opportunity to let their unconscious come to the fore. To experience their unconscious, what it thinks and wants. Of course this is what people can do in their experience of art in an art gallery.
On perceiving the art one can then let their unconscious have its reaction to that. Indeed the unconscious will always have its reaction to it anyways. The hard part is learning how to listen to it and be aware of it. Indeed one could say the more a person can access that level of reaction they are having to the art then the more they are able to ‘appreciate’ what a particular painting means to them and for them.
Perhaps one could draw this transaction. No communication is coming from the ‘other’ so the transaction is drawn as coming from the person who recognises the ‘other’ but then back to self and what the other means for them at the unconscious level.
Of course in psychotherapy the ‘other’ is not a painting but a person, the therapist. In silence the client can do the same in the therapy room as he can in an art gallery.
My self at the hermitage in Saint Petersburg, Russia. How can I let my Free Child ego state (and the unconscious) run free in silence as I look at this. The first thing not to do, is think this and try to do it. How can I just ‘be’, without trying to ‘be’?