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The graphics of ekphrastic writing: Raymond Pettibon's drawing-writing

Reifenstein, Tilo (2018) The graphics of ekphrastic writing: Raymond Pettibon's drawing-writing. In: Kennedy, David and Meek, Richard, (eds.) Ekphrastic Encounters: New Interdisciplinary Essays on Literature and the Visual Arts. Manchester, Manchester University Press, pp. 203-218

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Abstract

This chapter focuses on ekphrastic writing in the work of the American artist Raymond Pettibon – mostly pen-and-ink drawings with varying amounts of written texts – in order to explore and question the implicit opposition between the verbal and the visual that underlies many critical definitions of ekphrasis. It demonstrates how Pettibon introduces textual fragmentation and non-linearity through his complex responses to and paraphrasing of ekphrastic authors, which opens up writing to the contingencies usually associated with drawing. Similarly, Pettibon’s texts are surveyed for typographic, orthographic and chirographic characteristics, which emphasise writing’s status as simultaneously visual and verbal. The artist’s texts thus appear as though they have been written twice – graphically and verbally – marking them both inside and outside of language. This transgressive power of the graphic in writing is traced via Jacques Derrida’s notion of the trait, that stroke or feature crucially linked to the gaze, which marks the space between the visible and invisible. The chapter proposes that this quality makes Pettibon’s work reducible to neither the discourse of language nor that of the image.

Item Type: Book Section
Status: Published
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
N Fine Arts > NC Drawing Design Illustration
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0080 Criticism
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0441 Literary History
School/Department: School of Art, Design & Computer Science
URI: http://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/3652

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