A masterful attempt to carve out a space for a consideration of images not bounded by emphases on a singular essence, invariable traits, or an ontological preference toward a pragmatics of images that opens up the possibility of political transformation in terms of heterogeneity, dynamic reconfiguration, and critical intervention. Refusing the either/or logic prevalent in contemporary art theory, the author persuasively shows that, too often, these dominant narratives obscure the heterogeneity of forces and relations amongst artists and artistic practices when confronting new forms, materialities, or media. This is an inspired account of the potentialities of art.
The Invention of the Visible is destined to become a masterwork in the study of the contemporary image. The book is rich in examples from the fields of painting, photography and cinema and expertly shows how these artistic practices overlap and intersect. Vauday argues for a post-essentialist view of images, untethered from the classical model of representation, and freed in their creative power to produce practical effects that play with the material forces of their composition.
Not only does Patrick Vauday offer a lively and most remarkable introduction to the aesthetics of the image in French contemporary philosophy; he also demonstrates the important role played by the ‘Image Turn’ within this tradition. The Invention of the Visible invites us ‘to unmake and remake images’, enabling us to conceive of configurations of the world other than those of a phenomenology of art with which French philosophy has long been associated.