The School of Postmodernism: A closer look. Jacques Derrida

Sitting down is French philosopher, Jacques Derrida. Derrida replaces Heraclitus and Michaelangelo from the Raphael work. Derrida curated an exhibition of drawings at The Louvre in 1990. The opening image was Joseph-Benoit Suvee’s ‘Butades,’ or ‘The Origin of Drawing.’ (1791) In it a young woman Butades in coming to terms with separation from her lover, traces his shadow on the wall.  Derrida said this was also the case in drawing. The artist cannot see the model and the canvas at the same time. ‘It comes from a tradition in which the origin of drawing is attributed to memory rather than perception. The narrative relates the origin of graphic representation to the absence or invisibility of the model.’ (Derrida) The artist in a sense, is always blind. Therefore, in the painting, we have a blind Derrida next to a blind man’s white stick. (The white stick plays with the image of a painter’s mahl stick.) He is tracing a shadow on his drawing since Derrida has said that drawing, like language, is impossible without the play of the trace.

His work is initially signed and then crossed out. Jasper Johns’ 1972 ‘Untitled (Skull)’ is signed , but then the signature is crossed out. ‘Iterability is the condition of possibility of the signature, but it is alsothe condition of its impossibility, of the impossibility of its rigorous purity. Its detachability corrupts its identity and its singularity, divides its seal.’ (Derrida)This is something Derrida has done himself as a reflection of identity and presence. (The device of erasure that Derrida borrowed from Heidegger.)

He is leaning on one of Warhol’s Brillo boxes. This is an iconic work that Danto called ‘The end of art.’

Finally, Derrida spoke of the chora that conjures up Plato’s ideas of a receptacle for the copies of ideal forms. The chora cannot be represented as it is a spacing rather than a presence. Tschumi suggested it can be represented architecturally and finally persuaded Derrida to draw something. The resultant box is by Derrida’s right foot and is being used to store his brushes.Imagepo

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