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:: Volume 1, Issue 3 (8-2012) ::
کیمیای هنر 2012, 1(3): 83-98 Back to browse issues page
Foucault with Magritte’s Eyes
Arash Iqbal *
Abstract:   (12945 Views)
Representation in painting, which connects the image and external reality and introduces the former as lower to or narrator of external object, was challenged with the advent of modern art. In fact, artist’s mind and individuality claimed their dominance on narration while bringing in a self-sufficient independence for image. In this new episteme, different styles and techniques emerged which insisted on the creativity of artist’s mind and recognized the human role in the construction of reality. It seemed that modern art and its method of thinking proved modern subject to have influential and important role in knowing of the world. Among the artistic pioneers of modern history, Magritte was the one who attacked the external object and its connection with image from a different point of view. Instead of conveying the important role of the subject-creator, like what we find in Cubism, Abstract Expressionism and even Surrealism, he rather insisted on the self-sufficiency of the image. He puts reality in front of reality and it is language that finally reveals the rupture. The resemblances do not represent each other rather, in a world of repetitions, the classical relationship between the original object and its representation dies. Foucault describes Magritte’s paintings as: “the shifting and exchanging of similar elements, but not the reconstruction of a resemblance.” The difference between similitude and resemblance is the core issue at stake in this article. Foucault discusses representation and resemblance in their relationship with classical viewpoint and differentiates them from similitude and repetition, adding that:”resemblance serves the representation but similitude serves the repetition.” Foucault’s observations on Magritte’s paintings are based on the affirmation of this notion that in Magritte’s paintings the narrating image loses sense while language too is shown unable to narrate the image. Refusing to accept the role of narrator, the self-sustaining worlds of language and image not only don’t refer to the outer world but also, as Foucault puts it, their juxtaposition in image happens “through emptiness”. Magritte’s works, in accordance to his line of thought, ultimately turn out to be deprived of objects. His painting turns into a window opened to an empty world. As Foucault says, his paintings escape having identity.
Keywords: Foucault, Magritte, resemblance, similitude, representation
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Type of Study: Research | Subject: Special
Received: 2012/12/10 | Accepted: 2013/04/23
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Iqbal A. Foucault with Magritte’s Eyes. کیمیای هنر. 2012; 1 (3) :83-98
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