Blind Art by Derrida

joseph-benoit-suvee-inventionofartofdrawing1793The artistic power of seeing and making visible is inhabited by blindnesses it cannot recognize.

"Joseph-Benoit Suvee’s ‘Butades, or the Origin of Drawing’ (1791), is a painting of the young Corinthian woman Butades in Greek antiquity who, facing separation from her lover, traces his shadow on the wall.

"It comes from a tradition in which the origin of drawing is attributed to memory rather than perception. The narrative relates the origin of graphic representation to the absence or invisibility of the model.

"This suggests, drawing originates in blindness.

"(a) The artist is blind: The object or model, even if facing the artist, cannot be seen at the same moment as the mark of drawing is made. There’s always a gap or delay. The mark relies on memory. And when memory is invoked, the present object is ignored: the artist will be blind to it.

"(b) The process of drawing is blind: Drawing, like language, is impossible without the play of the trace, the play of presence and absence. And this cannot be seen.

"So there’s a double blindness, with the presence and absence (Butades’ problem) at the origin. The artistic power of seeing and making visible is inhabited by blindnesses it cannot recognize."

text: Introducing Derrida, Collins and Mayblin, 1996, pp. 145-146
image:
Projection Systems

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: