Interpreting Visual Culture: Explorations in the Hermeneutics of the Visual

By Ian Heywood; Barry Sandywell | Go to book overview

11

APORIA OF THE SENSIBLE

Art, objecthood and anthropomorphism

J.M. Bernstein


I

Imagine, if you will, a Second World War bombshelter: typical concrete construction, cold, damp, the few lights attached to the walls are directed at the ceiling. Scattered on the floor are white marble chips, from the sort of marble the great sculptures of the past were made. Lying before you as you enter the bunker are three more or less coffin-shaped blocks, approximately 8 feet long and 3 feet high and across. The three blocks are set one behind the other. They are made of jell-o! Hence the sharp edges of the marble chips dig into them, scoring their flesh; their gross, raspberry colour vibrant, too vibrant; they are translucent, solids that yet are a medium through which light passes.

This wonderful installation piece, by the Norwegian artist Jeannette Christensen, is almost too successful, almost a piece of conceptual art. Although visually powerful, amusing and disturbing, it appears to be making statements, or better, we cannot avoid approaching as if it were making statements: it asks us, on the one hand, to connect the hardness and monumentality of classical sculpture, its implicit celebration of power, its identification of power and beauty, as now only chips on the floor with, on the other hand, the need for hardness, the monumentality of the bombshelter. The bunker and the blasted beauty, the chipped trace of the classical, form a constellation of power, timelessness, and destruction. Further, there is a gendered affinity between the ruined classical sculpture and this bunker, the desire for immortality and the outrages of war which reduce it to rubble. The work urges the configuration of war and its devastation with the classically beautiful, those artistic perfections of the human Kant celebrated in his ideal of beauty. Christensen accomplishes this constellation through the work's oppositional structure: compare those masculine notions of art and worth with the fleshy, uncanny vulnerability of the gelatine blocks. There is here a call and a claim for transience and embodiedness, an act of mourning and an act of ironic revolt.

In saying that this piece is almost too successful, I mean that it lends itself so fully to statement that its visual spectacle is in danger of being (indeed will be!)

-218-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Interpreting Visual Culture: Explorations in the Hermeneutics of the Visual
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations vii
  • Part I - Rethinking the Visual in Contemporary Theory 1
  • 1 - The Hermeneutics of Seeing 3
  • 2 - Specular Grammar 30
  • 3 - Bakhtin and the Metaphorics of Perception 57
  • 4 - Durkheim's Double Vision 74
  • 5 - Readers of the Lost Art 99
  • 6 - Seeing Becoming Drawing 123
  • 7 - The 'Real Realm' 143
  • 8 - The Denigration of Vision and the Renewal of Painting 162
  • Part III - Towards an Ethics of the Visual 183
  • 9 - My Philosophical Project and the Empty Jug 185
  • 10 - 'Ever More Specific' 198
  • 11 - Aporia of the Sensible 218
  • Select Bibliography 251
  • Index 258
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 260

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.