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Michel Foucault. What does it mean to write "This is not a pipe" across a bluntly literal painting of a pipe? Ren Magritte's famous canvas provides the starting point for a delightful homage by the French philosopher-historian Michel Foucault.


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Much better known for his incisive and mordant explorations of power and social exclusion, Foucault here assumes a more playful stance. By exploring the nuances and ambiguities of Magritte's visual critique of language, he finds the painter less removed than previously thought from the pioneers of modern abstraction--"confronting them and within a common system, a figure at once opposed and complementary.

This is Not a Pipe also throws a new, piquantly dancing light on Foucault himself. Klee Kandinsky Magritte.

Ceci N'est Pas Une Pipe - Michel Foucault - Google книги

Nonaffirmative Painting. Two Pipes. It was as if he was still railing against his mids encounters in New York, echoing the legions of rejected artists, critics, and art lovers who had long bemoaned the conspiracy of art world charlatanry.

Regarding the question of whether philosophers understand contemporary art, Lyotard gave two answers: one philosophical; one curatorial. Lyotard continues to argue with himself throughout the book. Rather than simply displaying artefacts, the actual exhibit was a spatial experience. The layout was that of a labyrinth, with one entrance and one exit. An Egyptian relief of a goddess offering the sign of life to a Pharaoh; photos by Eadweard Muybridge; artificial skin; works by Duchamp, Yves Klein and Giovanni Anselmo; Kevlar; a sheet of paper seen through an electron microscope; and much more.

Sounds were transmitted throughout the exhibition via radio to wireless headphones. The show was, judging from its catalogue, neither celebrating a brave future nor condemning an apocalypse. Instead it was asking — concretely, in space — what effect developments in art and technology will have on aesthetic experience.

This Is Not a Pipe

Masses and Regimes Alain Badiou associates Postmodernism in general, and Lyotard in particular, with sophism, which he distinguishes sharply from philosophy. Badiou boldly makes the case for a return to metaphysics. We will say: Kandinsky, legitimator of the connection of signs! Jackson Pollock, enclosed effervescence of the infinite gesture!

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To note that these are ridiculously inefficient and inaccurate characterizations of the artists mentioned — and that they are all dead white males — would be written off by Badiouians as irrelevant sophistry. Who or what is affirmed?

This Is Not a Pipe (Quantum Books)

Foucault wrote about Magritte's work of the 's; meanwhile conceptual artists such as Baldessari and Kosuth had moved the discussion to the next level. A residue of that attitude can still be detected in the way particularities of any kind, including aesthetic ones, are quickly declared irrelevant by Badiou. Does he understand contemporary art? Also, this implies that the most important quality of political signification is readability, whereas political reach say from a queer perspective often resides in coded innuendo.

It seems that a more ordinary version of the work division between politics and art re-enters covertly: as content ruptured in form. According to him, the current aesthetic regime was instituted some years ago. The urinal was a pseudonymous entry to an exhibition organized by the Society of Independent Artists, of which Duchamp was a board member. The society had declared it would show every work submitted. Of course not. These supposedly idiot savant artists who talk back are a little hard for philosophers to deal with.

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This clairvoyant predisposition rubs off on their approach to art, which tends to favour writing and the dead over images and the living. Skip to main content. Twitter Facebook Email To Pinterest. Sight Reading.

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Do philosophers understand contemporary art? Issue September More Like This Previous Next. Precarious See-Saw. The Examined Life. Fade to Black. More Features Previous Next.

This Is Not a Pipe (Quantum Books)

The Frieze Futurist Cookbook. Most Read Previous Next. The Threat to Freedom of Expression in Japan. On View Previous Next. Stories of Finnish Art. Ateneum Art Museum.


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