Contingency of the interesting self portrait

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The  work of this  moment being to prepare commentary through Mieka Bal’s Quoting Carravaggio has only advanced to page 33 of her text. What she discusses here is Caravaggio’s Doubting Thomas in which the hand of said subject is held to Christs wound. The hand is in the characteristic Michelangelo God the Father position which one finds throughout his drawings ie seems to be a self portrait. Bal refers to this as a trapping activity and  gives a dialectic prepared through the expression of a work by Jeanette Christensen which prepares jello in a frame also containing a close up of the hands to wound…. I believe that the the close up emphasizes a carrying activity, the hand therefore, and the  idea of quote seem to mean towards an extended gesture more than a trapping. The jello of course emphasizes the gloss of the photo, and comments on the idea of a “gloss” in relation to quote. What is the relation in other words between reality and image, even in the context of quote. To What degree is a quote whole, to what degree a fragment. The drawing I place references the idea of a page taken from a sketchbook, how the architecture of the drawings original place then is replaced to what is a kind of crumpled topography of new architectures that project it to various intent and modes. An interesting aside is Rodins famous publication of drawing done of French Cathedrals in which of course drawing in books done in cathedrals again become a book….As for the jello, well , its a lot like spam… you have to be pretty good spam before I will put you on my site but here is an example:

“The  hallmark of writing in the first person is intimacy. But that intimacy can trap a writer into a defensive crouch, into airing grievances or self-justification. Annie Dillard argues that while personal essay is an art, it’s not a martial art, and that the personal pronoun can be the subject of the verb—I see this, I did that—but not the object of the verb—I discuss me, I quote me, I describe me. The goal of the writing is to set up a relationship, a dialog based on both identification and difference, harmony and disharmony. The assumption is that there is a unity in human experience, that within each of us is the human condition. But in narrative the universal is revealed through the specific, the general through the particular, the essence through the unique, and necessity is revealed through contingency.”

I of course was startled earlier in reading Bal to have her question the unity of human experience as being a false assumption. The writer above does a good job of parsing through that to identify “condition”  ie “fated necessity”  if we are to believe Heraclitus. However artists do a lot of introspection. I dont write essays. I do art.


Nom0nilism  then: things are not in word so paintings cannot be reduced to word nor is the concept used as an objective index to be delivered. So then is the artwork a kind of word-as-Logos, namely founded as a philosophical object, yet then also by a sympathetic verity also insecure to meaning? Is it this insecurity then that allows the art quotation or is the art experience Bal evokes in referring the Baroque fold and knot towards the Deleuzian fold then perhaps  missing the cinematic stronghold of Artaud who very much belongs to Deleuze’s projection and so thereby raise into dialectic the previously disregarded herme of hermetic ala hermeneutics  which as spoils of war is a critique into a contrast to be yet clarified into meaningful encounter between rhizome, knot, and dialectic? Art I suspect, leans towards persuasion long after it has chosen main force. But that is because there is more than meets the eye there. In the end image and narratology become lock and key to a puzzle that reassembles.