When manufactured as a work of art, the object exposed to view functions as a touchstone, like the high priest’s breastplate. First it ascertains whether whoever sees the object recognizes it as a work of art. Those who fail this initial test drop out of the game and lose the position of speaker that they had or could have had. If they pass the test and recognize the object as work of art, the range of phrases available to the viewers is delimited and organized by the transcendent signified known as “Art”. Having passed the test, viewers can go on to the second round.
Interpreters face the object that they have recognized as a work of art and now must become speakers of its meaning. Actually, they succeed only if they fail. If they succeed in extracting the truth embodied in the work, then the labors of both the artist and the viewer are concluded once and for all. If interpreters can say what the work can say, then both the artist and the work become superfluous. If viewers fail to extract the truth embodied in it, then they have succeeded. They have succeeded in providing additional testimony to the eternal gap between the viewer’s work and the artist’s work, which is the justification for them both. Interpreters show their concept in action and prove that, try as they might to marry their concept to the work, the work will always elude them. The position of interpreter can be occupied, even temporarily, by any of the players in the field (including the artist). This is the position of the critic, the guardian at the gates who is supposed to guard against the invasion of works that can be reduced to entirely deciphered, pure discursive expressions. The critic, according to Kant in The Critique of Pure Reason, will maintain the internal order of his jurisdiction (reason) on condition that the state will award this jurisdiction an autonomous standing.@8 months ago with 8 notes
#Art #Ariella Azoulay #Theory #Dialectics #Discursive practice