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By Dennis Hollier

During the last 30 years the writings of Georges Bataille have had a profound impact on French highbrow suggestion, informing the paintings of Foucault, Derrida, and Barthes, between others. opposed to structure deals the 1st severe interpretation of this tough philosopher, spelling out the profoundly unique and radical nature of Bataille's paintings.

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Extra resources for Against Architecture: The Writings of Georges Bataille

Example text

A hut and the house of god presuppose inhabitants, men, images of the gods, etc. o art, to nonaesthetic ends to which whatever beauty they may possess will always remain subservient. The appar­ ently simple distinction between these two themes will, however, he constantly put in question throughout Hegel's exposition. Art is a pertinent concept only for whatever has as its end the man­ ifestation of the idea of beauty; and the fact that house or temple presuppose other ends, that they are first of all the products of a nonartistic purpose, condemns them to remain external to art as well.

These two opening geographical references are worth some atten­ tion. Though they have biographical value (Bataille was born in Au­ vergne and studied at the lycee in Reims) , the way they function here overshadows simultaneously spatial externality and biographical con­ tingency: the cathedral is only a diaphanous, ethereal symbol tra­ versed by impulses of religious fervor; Auvergne is only the locus of hopes for a patriotic and Christian renaissance. " The entire text functions in this mode, which is regressive; it is dominated by the maternal image, one restoring continuity and reducing externality.

It is, therefore, not by chance that in both cases this ex­ teriority is transcended by a symbolic status. Such a way of transcend­ ing them situates both the problematic of sign to thing and of means to end, of meaning and of teleology, in the same perspective. Just as the symbol represents itself and has its meaning in itself, symbolic architecture would refer only to itself, would express only itself, would say only what it is. In reality, all is not so neat in Hegel's text. And traces of the deci­ sion bound up with the requirements of the system are to be found here also.

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