Limit within image, image within limit


You have to change to stay the same. (William de Koonig, Stevens and Swan, 2004)
One cannot say everything at once. (The Divided Self, Laing, 2010:11)
This article dwells on the notion of the ‘tableau form’ from the perspective of my on going research into the image and through engaging with a particular understanding of the image and limit. The context for this dwelling is given by an intellectual climate that addressed the image and the question of what an image is with an insistence and perseverance that put the image at the forefront of several contemporary discourses across the fields of aesthetics, philosophy, art history, cultural studies, sociology and many others.

Imagining imagination, imagining the image and imagining painting. Philosophy structures itself as a tradition and as an image of its own change. The same can be said about painting. Inside this tradition, two main strings proved extremely influential for thinking the image: the transcendental (e. g. Heidegger, Hegel, Descartes, Plato) and the immanent (e. g. Deleuze, Hegel, Spinoza). In-between these two a bottomless gap empties itself out extending into unbridgeable depths only to self-inflate contracting the two into one and the same tact. Considering the thinkers I am engaging with and the unorthodox meanings and ideas I am proposing, my concerns appear to explore the transcendental path of the (painted) image, however not without disruptions.

Several are the concerns around the image, touched upon, over and over again in a proliferation that remains inert in a timeless blossom stage, and blocked in inescapable antithetic dichotomies between ‘They’ and “Us’: presentation - representation, subject - object, sense - signification, being - becoming, ontological - ontic, presence - absence, offering - withdrawal, one - multiple, exposition of presence -display of appearance, isolation - merger, trace - form, and this enumeration could go on ad-infinitum.

The perpetuation of such abstract terms within an adequate conceptual frame should welcome an intruder whose personal unity and painterly sensibility might reorient, transpose, and deplace their immortalization and immutability.

I partake in the same differential-dialectical game. I am reacting to it and I am experiencing its appropriation (of the metaphysical tradition, but only as it is accompanied by art’s tradition) through which I am infecting some places in order to distract their formations.

I am engaging with the tableau through the image and through limit. I claim a dependency of the tableau on the image, if it should do, what Jean François Chevrier claims it does. I am going against the normal understanding, use and function of the image and I am following a particular ontological understanding of the image.

I am disrupting this ontological analysis of the image with the presupposition that its ontological difference and distinctness is not fixed and secure, on the contrary, it is conditioned by change, as is the case with all beings, being or beingness. This ontological difference exists and is only in its ontic manifestations. (The doubling of being with its essence creates a value of
beingness that is given to beings purely for the fact that they are; this value can be replaced and falsified like any other exchange value.)

Furthermore, I am underlining the fact that the image, as a mode of being is a plastic being that can be blocked in an ontological and ontic malady. The image in its personalized analogy may at least try to resist a reifying, objectifying or mechanical relation with an artwork, making space for a reciprocal relation between artworks and the world, between ‘They’ and ‘Us’.

Such a reciprocal, facial relation, obsessed with individuation, may not be founded on the prerequisite of complete understanding and of the complete assimilation of the frontal other, which for this very purpose is systematically sliced and dissected in it-processes, in systems, in the sum of disparate parts, in a machined whole with effective outcomes.

On the contrary, it acknowledges its distinctness, its differentness, its separateness, its rend(s) and accepts its threat of semiotic collapse and its incomprehensible kernel. The image and its desire have a potential for unmediated de-territorialisation and re-territorialisation.

Cojanu, C. (2013), ‘Limit within Image, Image within Limit’, Journal of Visual Art Practice 12:1, pp. 11-23, doi:10.1386/jvap.12.1.11_1.