Umělec magazine 2009/1 >> Jacques Rancière – The Two ‘Resistances’ of Art List of all editions.
Jacques Rancière – The Two ‘Resistances’ of Art
Umělec magazine
Year 2009, 1
6,50 EUR
Send the printed edition:
Order subscription

Jacques Rancière – The Two ‘Resistances’ of Art

Umělec magazine 2009/1

01.01.2009

Karin Rolle | review | en cs de es

The image of the free and rebellious artist who criticizes and reshapes society has lost much of its credibility. Yet the French philosopher Jacques Rancière still believes art to have political significance; he discusses the potential for resistance in contemporary art, presenting a theory in which the resistance of art is a relationship of tension between two different resistances.
Scant, impoverished landscapes are the subjects of Sophie Ristelhueber’s photography. Roads and paths thrust their way through her images, slicing across rocky deserts, snaking their way up mountains and deep into green valleys. These roads traverse these vast spaces, spanning great distances yet still managing to intersect one another. Stones, ditches and screens to block off traffic. Sophie Ristelhueber christened her series, on display for the first months of 2005 in the Musée d’art moderne et contemporain in Geneva, with the monogram WB—Westbank. With this designation, the almost unnoticeable stone heaps and geological fault-lines become identifiable as roadblocks erected by the Israeli army and Jewish settlers in the territory.
Jacques Rancière has selected the work of Sophie Ristelhueber to describe what resistant art means. Here, the carefully composed natural ensembles are torn out of their aesthetic order through Ristelhueber’s positioning of them in the context of the Middle East conflict. It conveys a subtle political message in her photographs without turning them into two-dimensional propaganda. The specific vocabulary of Ristelhueber’s photography is in its provisional, debatable, ambiguous character. Her photographs can equally be read as artistically composed, aesthetic landscapes or as political documentation. This tension is the vocabulary of resistant art, which, in the views of Jacques Rancière, needs to be brought back to life.
The 20th century denied artwork with any expression of the tension between the aesthetic and the political. The fin de siècle lost itself in aestheticism, driving art out from the world. Later, the totalitarian states of both right and left appropriated art to illustrate political ideologies. Even the democratic states and their logic of the marketplace utilized art in their own service, hijacking aesthetic forms to sell commodities. Attempts to preserve the autonomous status of art bring artwork towards the realm of ethics. Taking a shot at Jean-François Lyotard, Rancière describes the direction that art must take in the service of the “others”—noting the catastrophes of the 20th century and learning from them.
Rancière views these three movements—the return of art towards aesthetics, the convergence of art and politics, and the intertwining of art and aesthetics—as mutually irreconcilable trends. To him, there is no difference as to whether art retreats away from, or smoothly blends into, society at large; Rancière finds these univocal conclusions to be incomplete. In his view art must, have its specific potential returned to it. And this, for Rancière, lies in its ambiguity, in its oscillation between differing orders.
In the oscillation between aesthetic and political, wherein lies the resistant potential of art, we can begin to see these two “resistances.” For Rancière, “resistance” is a dazzlingly iridescent word. On one hand, it means something that makes the accustomed path more difficult and must be overcome, like a stone on a well-trodden trail. “Resistance” can just as easily be the exact opposite of the passive stone; it can be the active struggle against a static order. Jacques Rancière argues that both meanings are equally applicable and, through the highly fraught relationship that is created between them, a resistant art is possible. Art is the likeness of the unlike: it is the resistance of the stone (the retreat from life into the aesthetic) and the emancipating resistance (the overreaching of art into the political).
Rancière grounds his theory in a tradition that takes its point of departure from the philosophy of Immanuel Kant. In his Critique of Judgment, Kant lists the specific methods in which art acts upon human comprehension. If the material objects of the everyday are unambiguously comprehensible, art plunges the spectator into a sense of helplessness. It removes the logic of the clearly comprehensible naming. The free aesthetic play that is thus initiated can also be found in the work of Friedrich Schiller, in his Aesthetic Education of Mankind. In the theories of Kant and Schiller, art forms a sensuously experienced freedom in the mind of each individual human, one sparked by a change in the lived world. This newly-lived world is not simply left unsolved, but in fact pushed upwards into an endless infinity. Art opens a view into an end that still remains lacking. And for Rancière this makes art different from any other form of political action.
Resistant art speaks a language of ambiguity, allowing it to be read equally for aesthetic and political messages without falling back into a univocal single meaning. It is both the passive resistance of the stone, and the active resistance of emancipation. And it is solely this tension between these two resistances that makes us aware of resistant art, in the formulation of Rancière: “For the resistance of art not to disappear into its opposite, the unsolved tension between the two resistances cannot but remain.”

Jacques Rancière, Ist Kunst widerständig? Merve 2008, published, translated into German and supplemented with an interview by Frank Ruda and Jan Völker, 109 pages, 8 Euro.




01.01.2009

Comments

There are currently no comments.

Add new comment

Recommended articles

An unsuccessful co-production An unsuccessful co-production
If you know your way around, you might discover that every month and maybe even every week you stand the chance to receive money for your cultural project. Successful applicants have enough money, average applicants have enough to keep their mouths shut, and the unsuccessful ones are kept in check by the chance that they might get lucky in the future. One natural result has been the emergence of…
The Top 10 Czech Artists from the 1990s The Top 10 Czech Artists from the 1990s
The editors of Umělec have decided to come up with a list of ten artists who, in our opinion, were of crucial importance for the Czech art scene in the 1990s. After long debate and the setting of criteria, we arrived at a list of names we consider significant for the local context, for the presentation of Czech art outside the country and especially for the future of art. Our criteria did not…
Magda Tóthová Magda Tóthová
Borrowing heavily from fairy tales, fables and science fiction, the art of Magda Tóthová revolves around modern utopias and social models and their failures. Her works address personal and social issues, both the private and the political. The stylistic device of personification is central to the social criticism emblematic of her work and to the negotiation of concepts used to construct norms.…
Nick Land – An Experiment in Inhumanism Nick Land – An Experiment in Inhumanism
Nick Land was a British philosopher but is no longer, though he is not dead. The almost neurotic fervor with which he scratched at the scars of reality has seduced more than a few promising academics onto the path of art that offends in its originality. The texts that he has left behind are reliably revolting and boring, and impel us to castrate their categorization as “mere” literature.
ArtLeaks
27.07.2014 19:39
Where to go next?
out - archeology
S.d.Ch, Solitaires and Periphery Culture (a generation born around 1970)
S.d.Ch, Solitaires and Periphery Culture (a generation born around 1970)
Josef Jindrák
Who is S.d.Ch? A person of many interests, active in various fields—literature, theater—known for his comics and collages in the art field. A poet and playwright foremost. A loner by nature and determination, his work doesn’t meet the current trends. He always puts forth personal enunciation, although its inner structure can get very complicated. It’s pleasant that he is a normal person and a…
Read more...
out - poetry
THC Review and the Condemned Past
THC Review and the Condemned Past
Ivan Mečl
We are the fifth global party! Pítr Dragota and Viki Shock, Fragmenty geniality / Fragments of Charisma, May and June 1997. When Viki came to visit, it was only to show me some drawings and collages. It was only as an afterthought that he showed me the Czech samizdat publication from the late 1990s, THC Review. When he saw how it fascinated me, he panicked and insisted that THAT creation is…
Read more...
prize
To hen kai pán (Jindřich Chalupecký Prize Laureate 1998 Jiří Černický)
To hen kai pán (Jindřich Chalupecký Prize Laureate 1998 Jiří Černický)
Read more...
birthing pains
Who’s Afraid of Motherhood?
Who’s Afraid of Motherhood?
Zuzana Štefková
Expanding the definition of “mother” is also a space for reducing pressure and for potential liberation.1 Carol Stabile The year was 2003, and in the deep forests of Lapák in the Kladno area, a woman in the later phase of pregnancy stopped along the path. As part of the “Artists in the Woods” exhibit, passers-by could catch a glimpse of her round belly, which she exposed especially for them in…
Read more...
Books, video, editions and artworks that might interest you Go to e-shop
More info...
4 EUR
More info...
2,50 EUR
From series of rare photographs never released before year 2012. Signed and numbered Edition. Photography on 1cm high white...
More info...
220 EUR
print on durable film, 250 x 139 cm, 2011
More info...
799,20 EUR

Studio

Divus and its services

Studio Divus designs and develops your ideas for projects, presentations or entire PR packages using all sorts of visual means and media. We offer our clients complete solutions as well as all the individual steps along the way. In our work we bring together the most up-to-date and classic technologies, enabling us to produce a wide range of products. But we do more than just prints and digital projects, ad materials, posters, catalogues, books, the production of screen and space presentations in interiors or exteriors, digital work and image publication on the internet; we also produce digital films—including the editing, sound and 3-D effects—and we use this technology for web pages and for company presentations. We specialize in ...
 

Citation of the day. Publisher is not liable for any mental and physical states which may arise after reading the quote.

Enlightenment is always late.
CONTACTS AND VISITOR INFORMATION The entire editorial staff contacts

DIVUS LONDON 
Arch 8, Resolution Way, Deptford
London SE8 4NT, United Kingdom

Open Wednesday to Saturday 12 - 6 pm

 

Office: +44 (0) 20 8692 5157
 

Ivan Mečl
ivan@divus.org.uk, +44 (0) 7526 902 082

 

Shop
shop@divus.org.uk, +44 (0) 20 8692 5157

DIVUS PERLA
Former papermill area, Nádražní 101
252 46 Vrané nad Vltavou, Czech Republic
ivan@divus.cz, +420 602 269 888

Open from Wednesday to Sunday between 11am to 6pm. From 15.12. to 15.1. only on appointment.

 

DIVUS BERLIN
at ZWITSCHERMASCHINE
Potsdamer Str. 161, 10783 Berlin, Germany

berlin@divus.cz, +49 (0) 1512 9088 150
Open Wednesday to Saturday 2 - 7 pm

 

DIVUS WIEN
wien@divus.cz
DIVUS MEXICO CITY
mexico@divus.cz
DIVUS BARCELONA
barcelona@divus.cz
DIVUS MOSCOW & MINSK
alena@divus.cz

DIVUS NEWSLETTER SUBSCRIPTION
Divus New book by I.M.Jirous in English at our online bookshop.