Figures of History
In this important new book the leading philosopher JacquesRancière continues his reflections on the representative powerof works of art. How does art render events that have spanned anera? What roles does it assign to those who enacted them or thosewho were the victims of such events?
Rancière considers these questions in relation to the works ofClaude Lanzmann, Goya, Manet, Kandinsky and Barnett Newman, amongothers, and demonstrates that these issues are not only confined tothe spectator but have greater ramifications for the history of artitself.
For Rancière, every image, in what it shows and what ithides, says something about what it is permissible to show and whatmust be hidden in any given place and time. Indeed the image, inits act of showing and hiding, can reopen debates that the officialhistorical record had supposedly determined once and for all. Heargues that representing the past can imprison history, but itcan also liberate its true meaning.