The Arc and the Zip: Deleuze and Lyotard on Art

Slaughter, Marty (2004) The Arc and the Zip: Deleuze and Lyotard on Art. Law and Critique, 15 (3). pp. 231-257. ISSN 0957-8536. (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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Lyotard and Deleuze made extensive use of modern art to mount a critique of representation as part of their attack on the enlightenment subject. Art breaks out of received rules, conventions, forms, and cliches and is an instance of ethical if not revolutionary activity. Lyotard first developed these ideas through the concept of the Figure, which Deleuze later adopted. Figure is the desire or force that transgresses and deforms the good form of mimetic representation. Using Cezanne and Francis Bacon as paradigmatic examples, they argue that art creates new feelings and desires (Lyotard) or intensities and sensations (Deleuze). For Deleuze this is the model of ethical behavior -- the creation of new, productive forms of life free from the negativity of judgment. While Lyotard and Deleuze started from a common point, Lyotard changed his position in his later work on the sublime. Rather than positing a subject of purely affirmative desire and ideally free of the limitations of judgment, he posited a subject seized by and limited by the law. The subject is by nature divided: always already seized by and hostage to an Other, an unrepresentable excess or remainder. He is under an obligation to recollect and respond to the Other by bearing witness to it. The sublime experience of seizure by the law is exemplified in the paintings of Barnett Newman. While Deleuze would have done with judgment, Lyotard can never have done with it.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled keywords: aesthetics; art; Deleuze; ethics; Figure; judgment; Lyotard; representation; sublime
Subjects: K Law
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > Kent Law School
Depositing User: C.A.R. Kennedy
Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2007 18:21
Last Modified: 14 Jan 2010 13:59
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