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Writing Art: Challenges to a literary practice

Reifenstein, Tilo (2019) Writing Art: Challenges to a literary practice. In: Association for Art History Annual Conference 2019, 4th - 6th April 2019, Brighton, UK. (Unpublished)

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In his drawings, Raymond Pettibon appropriates literary fragments not in order to reproduce a narrative impulse, rather, he appears interested in structural elements, choice of words, ekphrasis, a text’s potential to subversion and response. What is more, the relationship between his drawn and written marks cannot usually be subsumed under the category of illustration.
If part of such art-historical scholarship thus involves contingencies of writing as a material practice and/or the notational iconicity of script (Sybille Krämer), how is one to write about such work without also engaging the selfsame aspects of writing. If art history is here the rewriting of an artistic text, a text made proper(ty) for art history, what is this text’s relationship to the pictural qualities of writing articulated in itself about another text?
This paper offers a methodological approach that considers the possibility of art-historical writing about artistic practice that also already writes, thus as a practice bound up in the liabilities of its subjects. Following Boris Groys’ suggestion that the writing of art history occurs in a literary space, which implies that the historian, too, is involved in artistic production and thus cannot approach the work (formally) under scrutiny from an external position, this paper reflects on the possibilities of writing about art. Art history's recursive self-reflexivity—producing image-texts in order to trace the words and pictures of artists—is therefore used to reflect on the creative practice of art-history writing, as well as the assumed division between writing's own form, material and content.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Additional Information: Panel: ‘Fiction with footnotes’: Writing art history as literary practice
Status: Unpublished
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BH Aesthetics
N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
N Fine Arts > NX Arts in general
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0080 Criticism
School/Department: School of the Arts
URI: https://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/3856

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