Bakhtin Reframed: Interpreting Key Thinkers for the Arts (Contemporary Thinkers Reframed)

Bakhtin Reframed: Interpreting Key Thinkers for the Arts (Contemporary Thinkers Reframed)

Language: English

Pages: 160

ISBN: 1780765126

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Visionary philosopher and literary critic Mikhail Bakhtin (1895-1975) was largely ignored during his lifetime yet his oeuvre has significantly impacted how we think about visual culture. His ideas renewed interest in the word-forming potential of the creative voice and he developed concepts which are bywords within poststructuralist and new historicist literary criticism and philosophy yet have been under-utilized by artists, art historians and art critics. Deborah J. Haynes aims to adapt Bakhtin's concepts, particularly those developed in his later works, to an analysis of visual culture and art practices, addressing the integral relationship of art with life, the artist as creator, reception and the audience, and context/intertextuality. This provides both a new conceptual vocabulary for those engaged in visual culture – ideas such as answerability, unfinalizability, heteroglossia, chronotope and the carnivalesque (defined in the glossary) – and a new, practical approach to historical analysis of generic breakdown and narrative re-emergence in contemporary art.

Deborah J. Haynes uses Bakhtinian concepts to interpret a range of art from religious icons to post-Impressionist painters and Russian modernists to demonstrate how the application of his thought to visual culture can generate significant new insights. Rehabilitating some of Bakhtin's neglected ideas and reframing him as a philosopher of aesthetics, Bakhtin Reframed will be essential reading for the huge community of Bakhtin scholars as well as students and practitioners of visual culture.

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applicable to the arts that emerge from cultures not connected to European philosophical or aesthetic traditions. As far as we know, the individuals who carved 300 atal and placed them in Central African forests were concerned neither with aesthetic theories derived from European philosophy, nor with debates about whether their aesthetic practice was a form of art for art’s sake or art for life’s sake. In the late nineteenth century such works would have fallen into the category of ‘primitivism’,

by virtue of their use, but I find such assumptions elitist and demeaning of the creative human spirit. Bakhtin’s view of creativity and the creative process is based on these European definitions, and is best understood through examining his ideas of answerability, outsideness and unfinalisability. With the concept of answerability, Bakhtin emphasised that we are not obligated by theoretical norms or values, what he called theoretism, but by real people in real historical situations. A genuine

space and moral activity, along with fragmentary reflections on language itself – are further delineated in Bakhtin’s writing with a number of concepts, including emergence or becoming, creative necessity and the fullness of time, seeing time, presentness, and the surplus of humanness.2 Before comparing the two sites using these ideas, 82 Bakhtin Reframed let me provide a few words about Morris Graves, whose work is not as widely known as that of Finlay. I first encountered the art of Morris

differently. Certainly we could talk about the chronotopes of various genres of painting using examples primarily from Monet’s century: in history painting, or in the 102 Bakhtin Reframed neoclassical and romantic spins on history painting; in religious or mythological subjects; in portraiture; or in landscape in general. Each of these genres can be examined in terms of the distinct ways in which time and space are represented. It is obvious, for instance, that history painting expresses a

for Theory’, Feminist Studies 14, pp. 67–80. Clark, Katerina and Holquist, Michael (1984) Mikhail Bakhtin, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Clark, T.J. (1984) The Painting of Modern Life: Paris in the art of Manet and his followers, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Coates, Ruth (1998) Christianity in Bakhtin: God and the exiled author, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 135 Select bibliography Coleridge, Samuel Taylor (1965) Biographia Literaria I, J. Shawcross (ed.),

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