When the French edition of Confronting Images appeared in , it won To escape from this cul-de-sac, Didi-Huberman suggests that art historians look to. GEORGES DIDI-HUBERMAI. CONFRONTING IMAGES. QUESTIONING THE ENDS OF A CERTAIN HISTORY OF ART. Translated from the French by John. among the Ga of Ghana, focusing particularly on the funerary object-image 5 For Didi-Huberman, , Confronting Images Questioning the Ends of a Certain .

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By doing this, he blinds himself to the narrow anachronism — less keen, certainly, but far more deceptive — into which he henceforth falls. Now what happened in the intervals separating the birth from the death, the death from the resurrection of art?

It is a stream of luminous particles in one case, a powder of chalky particles in the other. Review quote “I cannot think of any more important book in the recent history of art. Extent and limits of the dream paradigm. A theology of the image, which had absolutely nothing to do with any artistic pro- gram, already provided all the fundamentals of an aesthetic to come: In other words, something that appears, that presents itself—but without describing or representing, without making visible the content of the announcement otherwise it would no longer be an announcement, exactly, but a statement of vonfronting issue.

Where is its motor, where does it lead, on what is it based? What to imwges of this glare, and what to make of this white? Vasari never clearly answered the question: Moreover, only a few more moments in the little cell are needed to experience how the frontal huberamn of the Annunciation manages to metamorphose into a besieging hjberman. It closes the system: Norton, It is understandable, in these conditions, that an academic discipline anxious to constitute itself as knowledge, and not as normative judg- ment, should have turned to the Kantism of pure reason rather than to that of the faculty of aesthetic taste.

It constrains us either to remain silent about an essential aspect of art images, for fear of saying some- thing unverifiable and it is thus that historians often oblige them- selves to say nothing except quite verifiable banalitiesor to use our imaginations and risk, in the last resort, unverifiability. The question is worth posing, and worth posing again for every object.


Confronting Images : Georges Didi-Huberman :

This success was not merely fashionable or circumstan- tial. Where resemblance works, plays, inverts, and dissembles. The whole point now being to know how to include, within the historical method, this — visual — efficacy of the virtual. What would we gain, in fact, by fully realizing the program of interpreting the realities of the past using only the categories of the past, supposing that this has any concrete meaning?

The first three magic words: The history of art presents itself, in fact, as an enterprise ever more victorious. The first is its ghostly power to rise again, to effect a psychic haunting and to defy all chronological laws of be- fore and after, of old and new: The second ends of this Active but efficacious era complete the immortality with an aura of glory.

Was it to submit oneself, to equal, or was it to compete with what one imitated in the hope of getting one up on it, even of eclipsing it altogether? Where the crack is closed in the ideal and realism: His books include Fra Angelico: It clarifies, then, xonfronting it distorts the reality of its object. It is called the inconceivable, the mystery. The indispensable find and the unthinkable loss. The point of commonality is this general notion of mystery to which a Dominican brother decided one day to subject all his savoir-faire as a painter.

Where history and art come to impede the history of hubernan First platitude: But what, fundamentally, is a spontaneous philosophy?

It was to frame, to isolate what it seemed necessary to isolate, and, moreover, to create relations between places, antecedents, analogies, etc; in short, it was to legislate over the objects and give them a meaning, a direction. The Best Books of Interpretive violence From antithesis to synthesis.

Note in passing the sophistic character of the whole operation, which presents as legiti- mizing reasons what are in fact only rationales of desire. What faces us becomes all-encompassing, and the dii that the Dominican brother contemplated perhaps also murmured to him: But it intensifies it beyond its limits, it deploys something else, it reaches its imagee by other paths.


Beyond knowledge itself, to commit ourselves to the paradoxical ordeal not to know which amounts precisely to denying itbut to think the element of not-knowledge that dazzles us whenever we pose our gaze to an art image. This whiteness is so simple, yes. Thus where natural light enveloped our gaze—almost blinding us—there is henceforth white, the white pigment of the background, which comes to possess us.

What we read there, of course, is a story — a historia such as Alberti deemed the reason and final cause for all painted composi- tions 2.

Thus do we find umages, a totem-word reinvented and reinvested to decline the meaning of modern history; thus do we find disegno, a totem-word reinvented and reinvested to decline the final, synchronic meaning of artistic activity in general understood as imitation. Much too often we confuse, we col- lapse these two understandings of the history of art, doubtless because we dream of an objective discipline that could speak wholly in the name of a subjective practice.

The indispensable find and the unthinkable loss. The term Idea alone already lends itself to this, but there is more to it than that. It is difficult to misconstrue, in this empathic movement, the deeply mimetic character of the historical operation confroning.

The example of melancholy.

Confronting Images: Questioning the Ends of a Certain History of Art

What, at bottom, can symptom mean in a discipline wholly committed to the study of objects that are presented, offered, visible? The history of art is a history of imbroglios Who brought it about? Work is not function. A concronting shadow, for his text is a treasure-trove of informa- tion, an almost day-by-day chronicle, a catalogue, an inside view of things: