Confronting Images: Questioning The Ends Of A Certain by Georges Didi-Huberman

By Georges Didi-Huberman

Whilst the French version of Confronting pictures seemed in 1990, it gained speedy acclaim as a result of its far-reaching arguments in regards to the constitution of pictures and the histories ascribed to them by way of students and critics operating within the culture of Vasari and Panofsky. in line with Didi-Huberman, visible illustration has an «underside» during which possible intelligible types lose their readability and defy rational knowing. paintings historians, he is going directly to contend, have didn't have interaction this underside, the place photographs harbor limits and contradictions, simply because their self-discipline relies upon the belief that visible illustration is made of legible indicators and lends itself to rational scholarly cognition epitomized within the «science of iconology.»
To get away from this cul-de-sac, Didi-Huberman means that artwork historians glance to Freuds idea of the «dreamwork,» now not for a code of interpretation, yet really to start to consider illustration as a cellular technique that regularly consists of substitution and contradiction. Confronting pictures additionally bargains terrific, traditionally grounded readings of pictures starting from the Shroud of Turin to Vermeers Lacemaker.

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19 The first suspicion concerns the very form of the interrogation, what we might call its philosophical tenor. It is curious, although readily observable, that the academic practitioners of a discipline so greatly indebted, in its history, to philosophical thought—a debt that *marquages d’e´nonciation: in the sense of radioactive traces. 20 One often senses a cowardly or frankly contemptuous distrust of ‘‘intellectual notions,’’ as if art historians, sure of their savoir-faire, implicitly set up an opposition between theories meant to effect change and their own discipline, which, from catalogues to monographs, is meant only to advance.

It is called the inconceivable, the mystery. It offers itself in the pulse of an ever singular, ever dazzling event: that obscure self-evidence that Saint Thomas here calls a revelation. Now it is troubling for us to find in this structure of belief something like an exponential construction of the two aspects experienced almost tactilely before the utterly simple chalky material of Fra Angelico: a symptom, then, delivering simultaneously its single blow and the insistence of its virtual memory, its labyrinthine trajectories of meaning.

Rather labyrinths in which knowledge loses its way and becomes fantasy, in which the system becomes a great displacement, a great multiplication of images. Theology itself is not construed here as a knowledge such as we understand the word today, which is to say as something that we can possess. It treats of an absolute Other and submits to it wholly, a God who alone commands and possesses this knowledge. If there is any knowledge at all, it is not ‘‘caught’’ or grasped by anyone—not even by Thomas Aquinas himself.

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