Flesh, Folds and Texturality: Thinking Visual Ellipsis via Merleau-Ponty, Hélène Cixous and Robert Frank

Paragraph 30 (2):34-49 (2007)
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Abstract

Certain forms of art privilege the ellipsis. For example, in poetry, one has only to think of Mallarmé's Un Coup de dés for ellipsis to mark its peculiar trace upon the processes of meaning. Nonetheless, because ellipsis situates itself so curiously between meaning and signification, a formal definition may seem too categorical in explaining what ellipsis can do in its between-state, flanked by visuality, semiotics and signification. This article examines how Merleau- Ponty, Derrida and Deleuze, employ textual-visual and ontological-perceptual strategies for making sense of this slippery signifier. These strategies allow us to think through examples of ellipsis in the writing of Hélène Cixous and in the photographs of Robert Frank, in terms of semantic, affective, aesthetic and material qualities.

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