Art, Mimesis and the Avant-Garde: Aspects of a philosophy of by Andrew Benjamin

By Andrew Benjamin

Benjamin argues for a reappraisal of philosophy just about the centrality of ontology, supplying unique reinterpretations of up to date painters together with Lucien Freud, Francis Bacon and R.B. Kitaj.

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Derrida’s Signsponge (Columbia University Press, New York; 1984). Lyotard, Discours Figure, p. 211. Bennington, ‘Lyotard: from discourse and figure to experimentation and event’, Paragraph, 6 (1985), pp. 19–27. All references to Plato are to the Loeb Editions. On occasion the translations have been slightly modified. There is an interesting reversal that occurs here. The position advanced by Plato can be read as an exact inversion of the implicit conception of interpretation that can be extracted from the 40 ART, MIMESIS AND THE AVANT-GARDE Heraclitean fragments.

Even if all objects of interpretation are anoriginally heterogeneous and therefore involve interpretive differential plurality, it remains the case that it is still necessary to distinguish between the objects that affirm heterogeneity and those which seek, vainly, to exclude it. It is within the terms set by this distinction that it is possible to redeem the concept of the avant-garde. Another way of interpreting the painting, the play of mirror and figure (including the mirror as figure), would be to argue in a more general way that here the presence of the mirror works to enact precisely what cannot take place within the relationship between the inside and the outside.

If it were—if, that is, the distinction involved a straight-forward oscillation between the positive and the negative—then the distance opened by the distinction would itself have vanished. The already suggested distinction between experience and interpretation is central here. In order, therefore, to analyse further the nature of the relation between the predictive and the non-predictive it will be essential to investigate some of the ways in which experience and interpretation can be differentiated.

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