By Andrew Benjamin
Benjamin argues for a reappraisal of philosophy almost about the centrality of ontology, supplying unique reinterpretations of latest painters together with Lucien Freud, Francis Bacon and R.B. Kitaj.
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Extra resources for Art, Mimesis and the Avant-Garde: Aspects of a philosophy of difference
In the case of Bacon this involves the use of one mirror. The young woman in Bellini’s painting Lady at her Toilet observes herself in a hand mirror. On the wall above the bed on which she is sitting is another mirror. In it one (the observer) can see the reflection of the back of her head. One (the observer) can see what she cannot. She however has a view of herself that the observer cannot share. She sees what one cannot. No matter what is said about the painting, what can never be described (and here described should be given its full semantic rein) is what she sees.
The relationship between these ‘points’ could be envisaged as one of radical separation, two points in chronological time; or interdependent separation, self and other; or even one to be overcome, the separation between mode and object of interpretation. In each instance distance and space are essential. How then are they to be understood? 1 The problem of reflecting on space—its becoming an object of either thought or reflection—is, that from its inception, such an act will have to involve a twofold spacing.
Once again it is important to begin by noticing that within the frame the mirror is not presented within reflection. It does of course also reflect. It is both same and different. It is this which allows the mirror, the figure in the mirror and the figure before the mirror, to be interpreted outside of both deception and distortion. Arguing that the mirror has distorted is a claim whose force resides in its being that other possibility inscribed within mimesis. Distortion would be a failure, decreed as such, by the nonreproduction of the proper.