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L ’E s pr it C r éa te u r combined pleasure and pain) stems from a failure of Imagination (the faculty of presenta­ tion) to provide a representation of its object, a failure testifying, a contrario, to Imagina­ tion’s attempt to represent that which cannot be represented. Lyotard analyzes how, in painting, the inhuman is a question of matter and of color (“ L’Instant, Newman,” “ Le sublime et l’avant-garde,” “ Représentation, Présentation, Imprésentable,” “ Après le sublime, état de l’esthétique” ). In music, it is a question of sounds and timbres, the nuance of a sound as matter and as “ pure” presence (“ Dieu et la marionnette,” “ L’obédience” ). For thinking in general, it is a question of welcoming that which thinking is not prepared to think, a question of presenting, not an unpresentable, but that there is an unpresentable. To present the idea that there is an unpresentable relies on a temporality which is not one of speed but that of the here and now—hic et nunc—of the “ it happens.” Here and now, matter—a sound, a color, a word—takes place and testifies to an anamnesis, the anamnesis of the quod, the “ event” which had never been inscribed (because if it had, it would have become a quid). For Lyotard, at stake in art and thinking today is a form of work which is not guided by the concept of a purpose, but is rather a working through (the Freudian Durcharbeitung) which attempts to think what, in the “ event,” is constitutively and originally hidden to us. The function of the “ inhuman” is thus to testify to the “ presence” of an unpresentable, present although never inscribed, to a fundamental difference, unresolvable because it resists synthesis and linkage. In that sense, the “ inhuman” links up with the general project of Lyotard’s other works, i.e., to preserve the “ inaccordable” —the heterogeneous, the unlinkable—a project which he has developed under different names, from the “ figurai” (Discours, Figure, 1971) up to the “ différend” (Le Différend, 1984), the “ event” and the “ thing” (a term which he borrows from Lacan and links to the Freudian unconscious affect). Lyotard’s thinking relies heavily (and this is not new) on Kant and Freud. One of the most interesting aspects of L ’Inhumain is the intersection he elaborates (more explicitly than in his previous works) between these two thinkers: the sublime is to the beautiful (Kant) what primary repression is to secondary repression (Freud). Ultimately, these causeries further the idea of “ the postmodern condition,” elaborating it from the point of view of its “ inhumans,” discussed in terms of the questions of time, memory, and matter. A n n e T o m ic h e State University o f N ew York, Buffalo Jean-François Lyotard. Q u e P e in d r e ? A d a m i, A r a k a w a , Bu r e n . Paris: Éditions de la Dif­ férence, 1987. Vol. 1: Writings, pp. 123. Vol. 2: Illustrations, 132 plates. Jean-François Lyotard. D u c h a m p 'S TRA N S/f o r m e r s , trans. Ian McLeod. Venice, CA: The Lapis Press, 1990. Pp. 199 + plates. Duchamp’s TRAN S/form ers is a deluxe product packaged very differently from Que Peindre?, whose more humble, boxed paperback format resembles the earlier French edition of Les TRANSformateurs DUchamp, published in 1977 by Galilée. The lushness of the translation’s cover of green crushed cotton is consistent with its high quality illustra­ tions and the exquisite details of Given. As if ironizing what will have been done in reverse by the transformation of a public, paperbound format into a more privatized, elite edition, the text comments on the redistribution of artistic and critical energies enacted by the artist’s shifts of movement and perception from the ascetic Large Glass to the more popular, pagan formula of Given. Lyotard’s analysis of the question of Duchamp’s artistic application and critical practice provides, moreover, a brief sketch of the pagan politics of 164 Sp r i n...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1931-0234
Print ISSN
0014-0767
Pages
pp. 164-167
Launched on MUSE
2017-07-05
Open Access
No
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