Aisthesis: Scenes from the Aesthetic Regime of Art

Aisthesis: Scenes from the Aesthetic Regime of Art

Language: English

Pages: 304

ISBN: 1781680892

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Composed in a series of scenes, Aisthesis–Rancière’s definitive statement on the aesthetic–takes its reader from Dresden in 1764 to New York in 1941. Along the way, we view the Belvedere Torso with Winckelmann, accompany Hegel to the museum and Mallarmé to the Folies-Bergère, attend a lecture by Emerson, visit exhibitions in Paris and New York, factories in Berlin, and film sets in Moscow and Hollywood. Rancière uses these sites and events—some famous, others forgotten—to ask what becomes art and what comes of it. He shows how a regime of artistic perception and interpretation was constituted and transformed by erasing the specificities of the different arts, as well as the borders that separated them from ordinary experience. This incisive study provides a history of artistic modernity far removed from the conventional postures of modernism.

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to artists’, whose capacity to see and interpret is diminished by it.12 This indicates the direction in which the artist’s interpretation must proceed. Contrary to the first artists of photography, concerned with adding to photography by combining many shots or by enhancing them with gouache, it seeks to eliminate the excessive ‘minuteness’ of the ‘picture’ taken by the camera in order to allow the artist’s vision to emerge. Hence the care taken to ‘clear’ the image, with the help of various

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soul in mourning for lost totality. What is lost is the old division, the old hierarchy between two kinds of narrative logic: the noble logic of a chain of actions belonging to the tragic poem, and the vulgar logic of mixed conditions and the cascade of events that made the novel entertaining. In the society of ‘material interests’ that follows the revolutionary upheaval and the imperial epic, the distinction between forms of causal logic is no longer tenable. This explains why writers from these

they chose a distinct end for themselves. Tolstoy’s generals vainly imagined themselves directing battles that were decided by a chance cry for help or an improvised cavalcade. Zola’s scientific epic concluded with a newborn’s solitary raised fist symbolizing the pursuit of life without reason. This is the lesson writers took from Schopenhauer all the more readily, since they recognized it as the conclusion to their own plots: the will exhausts itself for what it believes to be its goals and what

feelings of characters, which the actor is supposed to perform. The opinion of the audience in a rush to recognize its thoughts and feelings on stage led to an identification of the power of art with the power of expression. But the opposite is true: the expressive gestures of the body are not meant for the artifice of art. The latter demands a material which the artist can use with certainty to express his own thinking. The actor is incapable of such accuracy when expressing the thoughts of

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