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Vortex Of Silence [Paperback]

By Doris von Drathen (Author)
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Item description for Vortex Of Silence by Doris von Drathen...

German art historian and critic Doris von Drathen has here produced a collection of 24 texts on 24 of the world's famous contemporary artists. In it, she proposes nothing less than a new method of art criticism: an anti-criticism that goes above and beyond aesthetic categories, and against the colonization of art. Paradoxically, the more famous an artist, the more their works seem obscured by inflexible classifications, wild misreading, and deceptive labels; von Drathen's analysis instead shows that every one of these artists is driven by an existential and ethical research. Artists from whom von Drathen raises this vortex of silence include: Marina Abramovic, Jean-Pierre Boltanski, Louise Bourgeois, Pedro Cabrita Reis, Ann Hamilton, Rebecca Horn, Anish Kapoor, Agnes Martin, Giulio Paolini, Giuseppe Penone, and David Tremlett.

By Doris von Drathen.

Paperback, 6 x 9 in./304 pgs / 80 b&w.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Charta
Pages   304
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9" Width: 6" Height: 1.1"
Weight:   1.7 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Apr 2, 2004
Publisher   Charta
ISBN  8881584476  
ISBN13  9788881584475  

Availability  0 units.

More About Doris von Drathen

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Doris von Drathen's art writing has been included in such publications as "Pedro Cabrita Reis: Giving Heed to Silence", "Rebecca Horn: Concert for Buchenwald", and "Paolo Canevari". She lives in Paris.

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Product Categories

1Books > Special Features > New & Used Textbooks
2Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Art > Art History > Criticism
3Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Art > Art History > General

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Art as the event of ethics re-enacted  Jan 11, 2009
In Vortex of Silence independent Parisian art critic Doren von Drathen undertakes a reading of 24 contemporary artists so as to illustrate the inadequacy of current aesthetic categories while introducing and developing a more comprehensive "ethical iconology" through which she observes the art work's discourse with "the other".
There are two premises to her readings which ultimately become her aesthetic theories: the first demands approaching an art work as an intrinsic universe, where the silence of freedom and the dynamics of silence are inscribed - a gesture that reintroduces the monad as Walter Benjamin understood it; the second invests a chiasmus where the "unusurpable other" is in a dialectic with an ethics of subjectivity.
Von Drathen is consistently generous in her analysis and allows for a consciousness of compassion to interpellate the ideologies that are being dismissed within an encounter with an art work. She often assigns authorship in a way that may seem counterintuitive - given her deconstructive bloodline - yet she does so with an indeterminacy and anxiety that professes the intimacy of the confrontation with the world which defines subjectivity.
Her method is rooted in the revolutionary approach of Aby Warburg (1866-1929) and his iconology; although the art world has evolved beyond the horizon of a single universe and formulated insulated realities since the critic's days, Warburg's gamut of influence has been steadily furthering its reach.
The author wishes to break free of the tyranny of the aesthetic strictures we've used to describe art, and rather wishes to make artworks an event where the encounter between the art and the viewer becomes an ethical discourse that informs and engages.
Her selection is very useful to such a purpose, but it is also a thoroughly postmodern gesture, where the encounter with the other becomes the domain of ethics, making of art an undeniably ethical experience. She further exposes such claims by ascribing a human agency to the art works, which through this encounter they seek to interrogate and rehearse questions that span the spectrum from the existential to the metaphysical.
This book is a treasure, and it was well received in France where the author was a visiting professor at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts de Paris. She has also held positions in London, Lisbon, Amsterdam and at the Universities of Sevilla and Cadiz.
"Vortex of Silence" is an exceptional experience that makes art criticism we are familiar with in the US by spirited exponents of the October School such as Rosalind Krauss, Hal Foster, Yve-Alain Bois, Dennis Hollier, T.J. Clark, Benjamin Buchloh and Lucy Lippard, seem too Lacanian in their themes and devoid of any Levinas or Derrida (although to be fair Krauss and Lippard do display as much heart as they do flair).
Here instead we have a theoretical approach that seamlessly invites the reader in a way that reads not so much as a theoretical practice but an ethical experience. There is a pervasive human element in Doris van Drathen's writings which marks them compassionate rather than aggressive. There are few art critics today capable of making of the absence of meaning and its concomitant boundless theoretical distress a vortex of silence the way von Drathen does in this selection, where the other's gaze is a bridge that does not compromise the distance necessary to put human life into focus.
This is not metacriticism, but art as an encounter, an experience, the ethical event re-enacted.

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