Now you can view this blog on your mobile phones! Give a try.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Mapping of the essay by Vandana U

Vandana U
MEL 132
Western Aesthetics
15 July 2010
Map of Benjamin HD Buchloh’s essay- Figures of authority, Ciphers of Regression: Notes on return of Representation in European Painting
I. 1. Crisis of new and old
2. The essay begins with a crisis being explained
Old— dying— new— cannot be born— appearance— morbid symptoms
II. 1. Phenomena of visual order in restored art
2. This paragraph deals with questions the essayist poses:
Visual links, systems— order—what, how? questions- how— made almost mandatory— deem— return of imaging- painting (1915) important move. Achievement of masters? Or—servants of audience yearning for restoration —-- images of recognizability. Visual productions— Renaissance— broken down-- mid 19th Century— re-instated. Shifts— re-affirmed in an ontological (reality, existence) condition. Other systems outside the realm— positioned— fill new visual systems with historic legitimacy. Links creating phenomena —mimetic— cause-effect, mechanical reaction- forever spawning traditional representation.
III. 1. Relationship between the phenomena
2. Gives examples— Stances— Neue Sachlichkeit, Pittura Metafisca paved way— final takeover— authoritarian styles- Fascist (Germany, Italy), Socialist Realism (Stalinist Russia). Relationship of the phenomenon discussed— Georg Lukacs— ‘Problems of Realism’. However, doesn’t clarify— system of interaction—- protofascism and reactionary art practices.
Explains with example- realism- Neue Sachlichkeit—apologetic, away from replica of reality thus merges into Fascist heritage.
IV. 1. Conception through choices of modes
2. Appropriate understanding— radical shifts between wars— artists’ decision of selecting modes of production—
Speaks of the assumptions— artists’ awareness of consequences of stances—- for identity and ideology chosen.
V. 1. Extent of impact of rediscovery
2. questions the extent— rediscovery of means— visual imaging— present European art.
Extent—dismantling mounting effect of authoritarianism— as political practice— to acquaint with emerging political realities.
VI. 1. Placing aesthetic developments in historical contexts
2. Makes an analogy— fall of modernist idiom and bankruptcy of capitalist economics— aesthetic rhythms—
i. artistic movements taking to pieces dominant ideology—
ii. Negation— artists— internalize oppression— two ways
- Weaken melancholy
- Flatter reactionary power
Describes collapse— cyclical event— like— crisis of capitalist economics— historical repetition— Thus position present circumstances in historical contexts
VII. 1. Motive of placing the phenomena in historical context
2. Illustrates consequences of not placing in historical context— fail in understanding Avant-Garde’s mission— partner in wrongdoing-- creating passive climate.
Reason—postmodernism ideology— overlooks political oppression— environment— essential to save power structure—
Gives instance— allegory of converting concrete anticipation— viewing in hindsight-examples-
i. melancholy— if at origin— then depravity is also enforced.
ii. Cites placing of Walter Benjamin— The origin of Tragic Drama— Fascist Germany— deals— emblems, rituals— George Steiner— reflection— political tension in critical discussion.
VIII. 1. Instances as Hallmarks of return to traditionl forms of art
2. Explains: return to traditional forms— examples
Modernist idiom— First breakdown— world War I— Mentions movements and artists— end of Cubism (influenced modern art/ geometric shapes) Futurism — Picasso—return to traditional forms. Example— readopting easel painting — valuable commodity revalidated— Illustrates negation by artists of their own begun movements— cause— deadlock. Cover up— creation—“new classicism”— refusal to face own art origins— development of ideas— result— break down of European Bourgeoisie. Validated— artists working in historical contexts. Duchamp/ Malevich
IX. 1. Establishment of art in historical contexts
2. Further explains the historical routes with examples placed in historical context
Persisting arguments— Avant-Garde— example- 1st performance of Tristan Tzara’s Coeur a Gaz— reiteration— end— Cubism— Blaise Cendrars. However, indicates— justifications for regression (1914). Cites examples helped establish new aesthetic orthodoxy— Leonce Roenberg, Maurice Raynal—statement— validate end of cubist culture— establishment—prevalence— ancient systems/ traditions. Picasso— Return marks eclecticism— simplicity— equilibrium— proclaim— New Avant-Garde.
X. 1. Picasso as a cubist
2. Examples-- art pieces of Picasso— 1917— characteristics- number, heterogeneity, decorative— classical portraits, sculptures, peasant drawings,— indicate sensuousness through cubist elements
XI. 1. Style of Picasso’s paintings
2. Description— Maurice Raynal— evident strokes of cubist elements— creating a new language— through their easy availability— interchangeability— instituted as aesthetic commodity— type that removed embodiment of any kind. Picasso— Three Musicians.
XII. 1. Moving towards allegory
2. Furthermore, transformation— material ideology to personification, psychosexual origins— symbolic shift— allegorical mode: concrete extending to fantasy. Negation—- yearning— immovable abstraction. Desire— no imitation— now— completion of desiring process— progress towards art of allegory.
XIII. 1. Further development of ideas on allegory
2. Move towards allegory— evident— representations of Metafisca— De Chirico, Carra—Futurism— paralleled cubism— capture speed/ force of modern society— De Chirico describes— unknown/ threatening acts— however elements of Impressionism seen- joy in metaphysical— tragedy of joy— compared to calm before storm. Movement towards Fascism.
XIV. 1. Art activities to restore art
2. This paragraph parallels De Chirico’s paintings to Picasso, elaborating other works that added to restoring of art.
Picasso’s conversion— denouncement— earlier non-representational modes by futurists— rejected ‘collage’ technique (Gris’s techniques— addition of paper on painting surface)— validated with example— Severini (Maternity) and Carra. Transfer of Carra’s— non-mimetic— verbal fragments— mechanization of visuals to biblical sketches— Tuscan.
XV. 1. Mastery of Art, thus right to dominate
2. Rediscovery of history— purpose served— authoritarian— substantiates the fall/ failure of modernism— barbaric/ crude notion of artist— re-built— purposing progress of culture— lesser known elite group— assuring them rights. Comparison to Russia, on other hand— opposite definition— developing— interconnection— aesthetic elements and autonomy.
Examples Girgio De Chirico’s idea revolving— superficial knowledge of art is done for— politics, literature, painting. Francis Phabia— Socialism for the weak— Picasso— dictatorship of painters
XVI. 1. Attempting to save non-viable artistic practices
2. Artists— senile— obstinate—- attempt to save lost/ invalid cultural practice.
Illustrated with example of German Dadaist Chritian Schad— defining Neue Sachlichkeit— Renaissance mode— costumes.
Comparison to Raphael— Analogy of good painter and painting well— Italy— ancient art newer than new art— knowledge— choice— high in Italy— varied.
XVII. 1. Factors seeking to halt modernism
2. Glorification of craft— foundation of past culture— used to realize— solutions and circumstances unachievable in present— Example— glorifying Italy— occur 3 decades- 20th C. Purpose—hiatus in modernism- social and historical through autonomy— symptoms reasoned— artists—- later validated by art historians— imbibed later in culture.
XVIII. 1. Using Style to imbue historical meaning
2. Style— significant part of art-historical thinking— fiction of pictorial mode— traditionally rejected—- applied present— instill worn out modes— historical sense—-- “-wasms to –isms” offensive variation in historicism— put forth— postmodernist—- Charles Jencks
XIX. 1. Style as a commodity due to historical connotation
2. Style— ideological equivalent of commodity.
Repeats— availability and possibility of swapping as in Picasso— maintain distribution— audacities convert to rituals— paintings appear as quoting history.
3. This can be compared to how the essayist describes the cubist elements in Picasso’s paintings, described in paragraph XI as shop with display of cubist inventions and discoveries.
XX. 1. Eclectic nature: symbols as grounds of purpose
2. Features of eclecticism— not haphazard— instead— detailed, systematic network— though can be read differently— grounds of purpose of author, interest of audience, etc. Transformation— rebellious to affirming production— apparent in every bit of detail. Obvious step— history sought as treasure. Cites example: visual of Italian theatre— comprehensible due to this. Through this develops understanding of ciphers of imposed regression— become emblems— represent weakened avant-garde artist. example of image of clown— powerless, submissive— mockery— these ascertain historical failure.
XXI. 1. More characteristics of the eclectic
2. Explains further the concept of the eclectic nature— transparent as a masquerade— separation from history— marks return of the subdued— necessary for functioning of historicism—consolidate fragments— according— degree of projection, identifying needs through images of past. Contrasted to collage (modern)— drawbacks of it— bare, irresolvable contradictions— etc— historicist on other hand— seeks blend—unity— whole.
Unity—perfidious— aesthetic pleasure is false— Resolving dilemma of modernist (ideas- autonomy/ self) — historicist— negates particularization.
XXII. 1. Characteristics of perceptual and cognitive models of artistic production
2. Artistic production— Perceptual, cognitive models—similar— libidinal apparatus— generates and receives.
Models— independent of contexts— therefore easily connotative.
Once exhausted— nostalgia similar to that of obsolete visual representations sets in— void of history, sense— repositioned in history appropriately to contexts.
XXIII. 1. Using obsolete modes in context and sense
2. Attach meaning to obsolete modes— present— radical, new
Obsolescence— contradicts regressive phenomena— labeled innovation. Adiition of “new”, “neo”. Sarcastic expression of using the prefix—
Example—German neo-expressionists— restored wide recognition also operated on premise of historical availability to discover newness.
XXIV. 1. The criteria of aesthetic evaluation
2. Intention of artist— though universality of concept— however cater to specific parts only— contrary to claims.
Criteria of aesthetic evaluation- if expressivity, sensuousness— confrontation with ugly and magnificent both— sublime notion is reaffirmed by alienation and loss. Example- Robinson, Vogel Suffering— personal struggle— powerlessness, despair-- -apparent due to status quo of bourgeoisie.
XXV. 1. An attempt to remain utopian
2. Aesthetic constructs- labeled— ‘sublime’— modernist high culture artists in question— proven sustenance of utopian thought— and instead of changing conditions— shifted rebellious actions into aesthetic. Reaffirms— despair and powerlessness— acknowledges cynically its drawbacks- material, perceptual, cognitive forms— primitive
XXVI. 1. Bourgeois perception and mode of experience in paintings
2. Paintings converted to aesthetic— perceived— sensuous, expressive, animated— glorify— practice of instant pleasure and postponed gratification— the bourgeois mode— countered in negation— Avant-Garde. Model— appropriate positioning— revival of obsolete visual practices
Cites example of Balthus— scopophilic pictures— become ‘new’ figuration. Interesting— no female amongst German neo-expressionists. Role distinctions— based on sexual difference— revisits concept— psychosexual organizations.
XXVII. 1. Painting and sexuality
2. Abandoning painting as sexual metaphor— meant formal, aesthetic changes— and critique of traditional modes of suppression.
Example- Duchamp and androgyny— ban individual ownership and favour collective practice— However— paintings with naïve presuppositions— immediate representation of artist’s intention in traditional mode (complicit with psychosexual aspect) — more effective than paintings which enquire into own procedures.
Example of concealment in Expressionism (Carol Duncan): Distortion of reality— implied meanings in paintings— women portrayed as objects of specialized male interest— marks on a sexual level. Artist if regards women--- means--- must sell himself— promote authenticity.
XXVIII. 1. Sexual and artistic role as an aesthetic equivalent
2. Sexual role— fetishized— aesthetically corresponds to cultural identity— rely on 2 major shifts— Fauvism, Expressionism and before Duchamp and Constructivism— during claim to unity.
XXIX. 1. Relationship between regressions in postmodernism and neoclassicism
2. Similarity in regressions (postmodern) and Neoclassicism (Picasso)- eclecticism— repeats the idea— origin from historical context— consolidated from fragments— maintain decorum— maintain cultural practices.
XXX. 1. Revival of contemporary works by Italians
2. Through— quotation, historical production, visual modes, aesthetic sense.
Techniques— fresco, sculpture, primitivsit drawing, gestural abstraction. Establishing modes— etchings, murals, etc.
XXXI. 1. Unearthing production modes
2. German neo-expressionists disinterred modes— primitivist wood sculpture, teutonic graphics— woodcuts, linocuts— assisted better conception— of allegory— forms—nude, still etc.
XXXII. 1. Result of Auratic nature of art
2. Co-existing with fetishization— work— auratic— crucial as fulfill function of luxury. Uniqueness in auratic— satisfies contempt according to bourgeois— aura— spawns aesthetic pleasure— contempt leads to narcissistic nature— example— Meyer Schpiro— conflict of artist with patrons, indifference to social life
XXXIII. 1. Characteristic of aesthetic attraction
2. The last paragraph of the essay deals with:
Eclectic painting practices— originate from nostaligia— becomes the attractive part— by taking a moment from past— modes taken which have historical roots. Contemporary— an attempt to resurrect figuration, visual codes— not due to precedent— but— attempt to re-instill— primary purpose of re-representations— explore ideological domination

Works cited:
Buchloh, Benjamin H D. “Figures of authority, Ciphers of Regression: Notes on return of
Representation in European Painting.” Art in Modern culture: An Anthology of Critical Texts. Eds. Francis Francina, and Jonathan Harris. London/ New York: Phaidon, 1992. Print.
“Cubism.” Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia Foundation Inc, 24 January 2009. Web.
12 July 2010
“Painting.” The World Book Encyclopedia. World Book, Inc. London/ Chicago/ Sydney, 1992-
1993. Print

No comments: