Art and the Demand for Signification
For Jean-Luc Nancy there appear to be three ways in which art today is contemporary: conceptual non-identity with itself, being in tune with its own questioning, above all a political signification. Nancy is in agreement with the first two, the third he disclaims. Art's conceptual non-identity is consonant with its self-questioning, for the question which art unfolds is the ontological one of what it is; a question which makes art different from itself in itself. According to this twofold conception, art is before anything else the exposition of the question ‘What is art?’ It will be argued in this paper that art is our ‘disengagement’ from signification, our ‘suspension’ from it; it ‘isolates what we call a “sense,” or a part or feature of this sense… so as to force it to be only what it is outside of signifying’. Sense beyond signification is the abandonment of the signifier and the forswearing of the appropriation of signifieds in favour of opening, opening the world to its sense, opening the world to its possibilities.
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