Thinking in Images. From the Icon to Dynamic Sign

Publication type Article
Status Published
Occupation: Head of Department
Affiliation: Institute of Philosophy, Russian Academy of Sciences
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow
Journal nameVoprosy filosofii
EditionIssue 11

The article aims at problematizing the concept of the image by treating it from a dynamic perspective. To this purpose the author suggests giving up the definition of image as artistic, in other words, as grounded in transcendence, such as the eternal laws of beauty, for example. The experience of 20th century avant-garde art offers other possibilities, when what is put into question is not only the autonomy of art but also its artistic and aesthetic independence. The icon appears to be a precursor of avant-garde art in this respect. A phenomenological reading of the icon allows us to conceive of the image as an operator of change. The image understood along these lines stands in contrast to representation and demonstrates an active and dynamic nature: what is implied, in particular, are the vectors that orient and transform the viewer’s gaze. A physical (non-artistic) understanding of the image traces back to 17th century physicalist philosophy. Thus, in Spinoza an image is nothing other than an imprint of corporeal encounters. Such interactions are multiple and heterogeneous. They can be grasped through the concept of dynamic sign that remains faithful to the physics of things proper. The same connections are expressed anew by contemporary actionism, being the art of action in the most literal sense.

Keywordsimage, representation, icon, avant-garde, dynamic sign, contemporary art, Vassily Kandinsky, M.-J. Mondzain, G. Deleuze
Publication date19.12.2018
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