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10 June 2019

Dr Great Art Podcast Episode 52: Julia Kristeva, Metaphor as Resistance

Dr Great Art Podcast, Episode 52: Julia Kristeva, Metaphor as Resistance.

Julia Kristeva, the a Bulgarian-French philosopher, offers in her theorization hope for resistance against ruling ideologies within artworks themselves. Artists can produce "openings" by creating metaphors through serious play, turning rules upside down, displaying pleasure, laughter and poetry which include thoughtful critique --- delightful, anarchistic, alternative visions that are embodiments of and empower other forms of resistance.

#arthistory #arttheory #metaphor #resistance #markstaffbrandl #drgreatart


Dr Great Art Podcast 52

Julia Kristeva, Metaphor as Resistance

Hi this is Mark Staff Brandl, with the 52nd "Dr Great Art" brief podcast. I hope you enjoy it and come back for each and every one.

Today my Artecdote concerns another significant theorist whose work I find can be very inspirational to working artists. Julia Kristeva.

I have already presented Bakhtin, Feminism, Th. Emil Homerin, Cornel West, George Lakoff and others. I find Kristeva also to be very important as well as stirring.

Julia Kristeva, Metaphor as Resistance.

Julia Kristeva is a Bulgarian-French philosopher, literary critic, semiotician, psychoanalyst, feminist, and even novelist. She has lived in France since the mid-1960s. In art, she is most widely discussed in connection to the "abject," or in her battle against the Bulgarian government's accusations against her. I consider the accusations spurious and a conscious attempt by rightwingers to discredit her. The "abject" is a unique insight concerning "nasty" materials and things we find repulsive. It is somewhat abused by trendy artists and critics, but less important than her considerations concerning the possibility of resistance AT ALL to dominant ideologies.

Kristeva became influential in international critical analysis, cultural studies and feminism after publishing her first book in 1969. Her sizeable body of work includes books and essays which address intertextuality, the semiotic, and abjection, in the fields of linguistics, literary theory and criticism, psychoanalysis, biography and autobiography, political and cultural analysis, art and art history.

The effect Julia Kristeva has had on my deliberation in art theory can be summed up in four words: the possibility of resistance. As I searched the field, it appeared to me that the (then and still) dominant forms of contemporary theorizing such as Deconstructionism et al. were pathographic, seeing art as simply a symptom, forever doomed to morbidly mirror the diseases of the society surrounding it. It had not perhaps been originally so conceived, but in art critical practice, that is what the followers of Jacques Derrida in the artworld and literary world had made of his theories and those close to him. The artworld as of about 2014 noticed that the "Derrida" name has been too present and began to avoid the word --- yet they still cling to their (I would purport mis-) readings of his thought in deed if not name.

Reading Kristeva's works encouraged me in my search for a location in the creative practice itself where an "opening" could occur, where dominant tropes might be disrupted as well as expressed. This effort was an integral engine behind the origination of my exploration of theory and has become quite central to my theory of metaphor(m) and to my own artwork.

In Kristeva I saw and see the first glimmer of hope. Her form of feminism privileges opposition through a "dispersed" subject/speaker. The inherent contradiction of the process of likening one thing to another in tropes is central to my thinking.

Creators may thus be seen as those who anarchistically answer the domineering assertion of rules as the Other, as the perennial foreigner. Kristeva's philosophy can be used in this way to supplement the Bakhtinian notion of liberating alternative voices: What would those voices say? Within the often fatalistic confines of poststructuralist theory, she contrarily traces the necessity of an outlet.

John Lechte describes Kristeva's rich estimation of poetics. "It is precisely one of the features of poetic language, for example, that it embodies contradiction."

Syntax, order and rules of form are turned topsy-turvy by pleasure, laughter and poetry. In this aspect of Kristeva's thought one can see that type of incorrigible play which occurs in metaphor-making — especially in those creative tropes which question, invert or criticize metaphors which are taken for granted in our culture. There is much we can learn from Kristeva, but most of all that the individual creation of tropes is a potential avenue of great resistance.

Artists can, Kristeva-influenced, create metaphors, metaphor(m)s, through incorrigibly serious play, turn rules inside-out and upside down, create pleasure, laughter and poetry including thoughtful critique. Delightful, anarchistic, alternative visions that are embodiments of and empower other forms of resistance.

That was Julia Kristeva, Metaphor as Resistance.

Thanks for listening. Podcast number 52. If you wish to hear more cool, exciting and hopefully inspiring stuff about art history and art, come back for more. Also I, Dr Mark Staff Brandl, artist and art historian, am available for live custom Performance-Lectures. In English und auf Deutsch, with Performance-Paintings!

I take viewers inside visual art and art history. Entertainingly, yet educationally and aesthetically, I analyze, underline, and discuss the reasons why a work of art is remarkable, or I go through entire eras, or indeed through the entirety of art history, or look at your desired theme through the lens of art history. The lectures often take place with painted background screens and even in my painting-installations. Most recently I did "Petr Jan Brandl, Baroque Art, Prague and Me" in Prague at the Festival Brandl.

You can find or contact me at (spell)

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or find me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, all as Dr Great Art.

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