Wittgenstein’s “simple object”, the phenomenological gaze and the representation of spatial ‘things’ in modernism/postmodernism

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

By examining a series of paintings by Magritte and etchings by Escher, with reference to several literary texts, this article traces the aesthetic function of the representation of space and silence in Modernist art at the beginning of the 20th century. In reading the Modernist work of art against the theory of language proposed by Ludwig Wittgenstein in his 1921 Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, this article also suggests that the representation of objects testifies to a paradigm shift in European aesthetics at the beginning of the 20th century which involves a repudiation of affectivity as a mode of experience and expression prevailing as far back as Classical Antiquity, and a move into the orbit of the phenomenological gaze which shifts the space of representation beyond the actually visible or representable. This shift makes experience into an experience of language or of the process of signification, which has the effect of symbolic ‘castration’ (Freud), bringing into existence the ‘split’ subject (Lacan). The alienating split of the subject by the signifier (‘the object’) is thematised as violence (cannibalism) in modernism and inhertited by postmodernism, as demonstrated by critical reference to Maurice Blanchot’s Thomas the Obscure (1932), Patrick Sűskin’d Perfume, and Milorad Pavić’s Dictionary of the Khazars.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-91
Number of pages11
JournalAM Journal of Art and Media Studies
Volume9
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Keywords

  • affectivity
  • space
  • silence
  • the ineffable
  • the as if of signification
  • violence of thought

Cite this

@article{0d1c60ac3e42453283d73e62c3cf8d9a,
title = "Wittgenstein’s “simple object”, the phenomenological gaze and the representation of spatial ‘things’ in modernism/postmodernism",
abstract = "By examining a series of paintings by Magritte and etchings by Escher, with reference to several literary texts, this article traces the aesthetic function of the representation of space and silence in Modernist art at the beginning of the 20th century. In reading the Modernist work of art against the theory of language proposed by Ludwig Wittgenstein in his 1921 Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, this article also suggests that the representation of objects testifies to a paradigm shift in European aesthetics at the beginning of the 20th century which involves a repudiation of affectivity as a mode of experience and expression prevailing as far back as Classical Antiquity, and a move into the orbit of the phenomenological gaze which shifts the space of representation beyond the actually visible or representable. This shift makes experience into an experience of language or of the process of signification, which has the effect of symbolic ‘castration’ (Freud), bringing into existence the ‘split’ subject (Lacan). The alienating split of the subject by the signifier (‘the object’) is thematised as violence (cannibalism) in modernism and inhertited by postmodernism, as demonstrated by critical reference to Maurice Blanchot’s Thomas the Obscure (1932), Patrick Sűskin’d Perfume, and Milorad Pavić’s Dictionary of the Khazars.",
keywords = "affectivity, space , silence, the ineffable, the as if of signification, violence of thought",
author = "Vladiv-Glover, {Slobodanka Millicent}",
year = "2016",
language = "English",
volume = "9",
pages = "81--91",
journal = "AM Journal of Art and Media Studies",
issn = "2406-1654",
publisher = "Singidunum University",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Wittgenstein’s “simple object”, the phenomenological gaze and the representation of spatial ‘things’ in modernism/postmodernism

AU - Vladiv-Glover, Slobodanka Millicent

PY - 2016

Y1 - 2016

N2 - By examining a series of paintings by Magritte and etchings by Escher, with reference to several literary texts, this article traces the aesthetic function of the representation of space and silence in Modernist art at the beginning of the 20th century. In reading the Modernist work of art against the theory of language proposed by Ludwig Wittgenstein in his 1921 Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, this article also suggests that the representation of objects testifies to a paradigm shift in European aesthetics at the beginning of the 20th century which involves a repudiation of affectivity as a mode of experience and expression prevailing as far back as Classical Antiquity, and a move into the orbit of the phenomenological gaze which shifts the space of representation beyond the actually visible or representable. This shift makes experience into an experience of language or of the process of signification, which has the effect of symbolic ‘castration’ (Freud), bringing into existence the ‘split’ subject (Lacan). The alienating split of the subject by the signifier (‘the object’) is thematised as violence (cannibalism) in modernism and inhertited by postmodernism, as demonstrated by critical reference to Maurice Blanchot’s Thomas the Obscure (1932), Patrick Sűskin’d Perfume, and Milorad Pavić’s Dictionary of the Khazars.

AB - By examining a series of paintings by Magritte and etchings by Escher, with reference to several literary texts, this article traces the aesthetic function of the representation of space and silence in Modernist art at the beginning of the 20th century. In reading the Modernist work of art against the theory of language proposed by Ludwig Wittgenstein in his 1921 Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, this article also suggests that the representation of objects testifies to a paradigm shift in European aesthetics at the beginning of the 20th century which involves a repudiation of affectivity as a mode of experience and expression prevailing as far back as Classical Antiquity, and a move into the orbit of the phenomenological gaze which shifts the space of representation beyond the actually visible or representable. This shift makes experience into an experience of language or of the process of signification, which has the effect of symbolic ‘castration’ (Freud), bringing into existence the ‘split’ subject (Lacan). The alienating split of the subject by the signifier (‘the object’) is thematised as violence (cannibalism) in modernism and inhertited by postmodernism, as demonstrated by critical reference to Maurice Blanchot’s Thomas the Obscure (1932), Patrick Sűskin’d Perfume, and Milorad Pavić’s Dictionary of the Khazars.

KW - affectivity

KW - space

KW - silence

KW - the ineffable

KW - the as if of signification

KW - violence of thought

M3 - Article

VL - 9

SP - 81

EP - 91

JO - AM Journal of Art and Media Studies

JF - AM Journal of Art and Media Studies

SN - 2406-1654

ER -