Paperback. For nearly fifty years the humanities have been confined by a series of critiques: of the subject, of representation, of the visual, of modernism, of autonomy, of intention, of art itself.Shipping may be from multiple locations in the US or from the UK, depending on stock availability. 336 pages. 0.748. Bookseller Inventory #
Synopsis: For nearly fifty years the humanities have been defined by a series of critiques: of the subject, of representation, of the visual, of modernism, of autonomy, of intention, of art itself. In their place various "materialities" have appeared: signs, identities, bodies, history, and works. Against Affective Formalism challenges these orthodoxies.
"What I am after, above all, is expression," Henri Matisse declared. Matisse believed that through the careful arrangement of line and color he could transmit his feelings directly to the minds and bodies of his viewers. Yet Matisse continually struggled with the reality that his feelings were misunderstood--or simply ignored--by viewers of his art. Matisse oscillates between a desire for expressive command over the viewer and a sense of the impossibility of making himself known.
Against Affective Formalism confronts modernism's dissatisfactions with representation. As Todd Cronan explains, a central tenet of modernist thought turns on the effort to overcome representation in the name of something more explicit in its capacity to generate bodily or affective experience. Henri Bergson was one of the most influential advocates of the antirepresentational impulse; his novel theories of memory and freedom gripped a generation of writers, philosophers, psychologists, and artists. Matisse and Bergson worked within and against the context of form and expression that remains in force today.
Writing in opposition to prevailing theories and assumptions about the relation of intention and form--most of which accept the "death of the author" as a basic fact of interpretation--Cronan argues that the beholder's response to art, outside a framework of intentionality, is irrelevant to a work's meaning. Intentions are not a matter of method at all: no letter, biography, document, archive, or key will recover an intention. What matters is that intentions make works of art different from objects in the world.
List of Illustrations
Introduction: Modernism against Representation
1. Painting as Affect Machine
2. Freedom and Memory: Bergson's Theory of Hypnotic Agency
3. The Influence of Others: Matisse and Personnalité
4. Matisse and Mimesis
Conclusion. From Art to Object: The Case of Paul Valéry
From the Back Cover: ToddCronan's juggernaut is several books in one. In the first place, ithistoricizes a crucial question in contemporary esthetics, whether or not abeholder's experience of a work of art can properly be understood as affectiverather than as cognitive. Second, it offers a strong rereading of variouswritings by Henri Bergson - whose philosophy has often between associated withthe art of Matisse - with respect to that and related issues, showing in theend that although Bergson was continually tempted by the affective position, henever quite definitely succumbed to it (to his credit, Cronan suggests).Third and most important, Cronan tracks the interplay between the affective andcognitivist viewpoints in the theory and practice of one of the great paintersof the twentieth century, Henri Matisse; this involves close looking at a widerange of paintings that have never before been considered in this light, and italso sets Cronan on a collision course - from which he does not flinch - withthe almost uniformly affective bias of recent Matisse criticism. The bookconcludes with a brilliant chapter on Paul Valéry, in whose writings theconflict between cognitivism (or intentionalism) and affect emerges in a mannerthat remains paradigmatic for developments to come. I have no hesitationin stating that Against Affective Formalism is a major achievement, andI look forward with fascination to its reception by a field that is likely tobe transformed by it. -Michael Fried, JohnsHopkins University
Title: Against Affective Formalism: Matisse, ...
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