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Title: The Figure in Time. On the Temporality of the Figural
Authors: IONESCU, Vlad 
Issue Date: 2019
Publisher: Editura Universitatii din Bucuresti
Source: Marin, Laura; Diaconu, Anca (Ed.). Working through the Figure: Theory, Practice, Method, Editura Universitatii din Bucuresti, p. 11-62
Series/Report: Text & Image
Abstract: Comparing to figura and the figurative, the figural has a shorter history. In Discourse, Figure (1971), Jean-François Lyotard thoroughly elaborated on this notion. A decade later, Gilles Deleuze further developed it in The Logic of Sensation (1981), where the productive Diagram and the intensive Sensation are both related to the Figure. Building upon those previous works, the goal of the present essay is twofold: first, to advance the figural as a concept that allows for the understanding of representation as a disproportion between qualitatively different realms (text vs. image, conscious vs. unconscious, visible vs. invisible) – a synchronic approach dealing with the general principles of representation. Secondly, the study investigates whether a diachronic function of the figural can be traced in art history. The hypothesis here is that there is a transgressive intensity of images that unfolds throughout art history. In order to test this hypothesis, the essay addresses the temporality of the figura in Erich Auerbach’s interpretation, as well as the idea of an afterlife of Antiquity in Aby Warburg’s and Horst Bredekamp’s image-act theory. The conclusion is that representation includes and depends on an ontological difference between that which conditions its own structure (what is allowed to be represented) and a surplus of sense coming from the object of representation and its perception (as object of desire). The figural (and its conceptual siblings) shows how images determine our understanding of the world while relating it to a productive potential emerging from desire, the unconscious, sensation or God.
Keywords: figure; figural; figurative; aesthetics; image analysis; Jean-François Lyotard; Gilles Deleuze; Sigmund Freud; temporality; Aby Warburg; Horst Bredekamp; Georges-Didi Huberman; Erich Auerbach
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ISBN: 9786061609383
Category: B2
Type: Book Section
Appears in Collections:Research publications

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