The Avant-Garde as Continuous Experience

Russian Studies in Philosophy 55 (3-4):252-264 (2017)

The present article considers the avant-garde as experience, and primarily as the experience of perceiving avant-garde art in terms of interruption, estrangement, and arrest. The focus is on the “internal”—utopian—time of the avant-garde, or the dimension of the social imagination. This is directly related to Walter Benjamin’s concept of history, and his idea of the interruption of time. The article analyzes the connection between the continuing interest in the avant-garde and the problem of representing utopia. Avant-garde art is considered as a “sign of history” according to Kant: it takes on the function of an index in that it delineates space for new social relations. Avant-garde art is a form of mapping out a new community, which precedes any institutionalization. Such an intrusion of the “invisible” into avant-garde imagery is explored with the example of Jean-Luc Marion’s reflections on Rothko and Marie-José Mondzain’s conception of the icon as the forerunner of modern abstract art.
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DOI 10.1080/10611967.2017.1370302
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