The key to understanding the 20th century
“One's always writing to bring something to life, to free life from where it's trapped, to trace lines of flight. The language for doing that can't be a homogeneous system, it's something unstable, always heterogeneous, in which style carves differences of potential between which things can pass, come to pass, a spark can ash and break out of language itself, to make us see and think what was lying in the shadow around the words, things we were hardly aware existed.”
The true poet is an ontological outcast. When the poet was expelled from Plato’s Republic, literature embodied the eternal role of the ominous myth, in which the individual’s ability to transgress can make society dangerous. Rimbaud and Verlaine, Oscar Wilde and André Gide are just the more prodigal ones among the plentiful examples of transgressors throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. However, this marginalization is not exclusively restricted to literature, and it includes thought in the wider sense of the word, ever since Socrates and until contemporary thinkers. This has to do with the relevance of Deleuze’s concept of what is the understanding of literary language. Thus, as a creative activity, poetry had the power to foster that which Plato tried firmly to repress as much as possible: simulacrum. This is the issue that all western aesthetics discussed until it was solved by the Post-structuralist generation of philosophers, namely Gilles Deleuze, Felix Gattari and Jean Baudriallard. From that moment on, simulacrum was put on a pedestal as the most representative aspect of Post-modern culture.
Having been disseminated by Nietzsche and resumed by the Nihilist tradition, Anti-Platonism was definitely the undertaking of 20th century Philosophy, and it was shaped by the modern theories of Philosophy of Language, Anthropology and Sociology. Anti-Platonism was instilled in the West thanks to Post-modernist theory, and the ideal of freeing simulacrum by eliminating any differentiation between the real world and the apparent world was its main goal. The triumph of simulacrum is inseparable from the setting of a kind of ontological horizontality in the field of thought, in which the hierarchy and selectivity of the world, as derived from Plato’s analogy, actually become impossible and meaningless. Such is what Gilles Deleuze classifies as differential thought or plane of immanence, a domain of thought in which hierarchy and form are undervalued in favor of a condensed framework of multiplicities and intensities.
However, simulacrum (or the false pretender) loses its condition of falsehood when the platonic opposition is run into the ground, the same way that simulation stops being a mere impression opposed to something more fundamental than scoring a triumph for the false pretender. In the first place, it is necessary to highlight the effect of the simulacrum functioning as a Dionysian machine, to use Nietzsche’s own words. “The simulacrum is not a degraded copy. It harbors a positive power which denies the original and the copy, the model and the reproduction”, Deleuze writes. According to Deleuze, if writing is connected with the Dionysian machinery proclaimed by Nietzsche, it is because it is inseparable from creation, and, as a consequence, his first criticism arises because Deleuze is against the traditional conceptions of writing. Since the representative dimension of language subdues its execution to mimesis and designation, that process transforms writing into nothing but a formal resource which represents a determined well-designed content and not a creation process. If one follows a different direction on the way Deleuze’s considered this issue, the starting point for writing is not a well-designed content which would later be enunciated, but it is the enunciation itself that actually allows vision and sound through language. In order to do this, it is necessary to annihilate the traditional representative relationship between meaning and content, thus allowing that writing and literature would no longer be considered as processes of formalization, but processes that derive from the philosophical concepts of the formless and the becoming.
Contemporary cultural changes, renovated social relationships or relational updating (usually known as culture) are occurring fast due to the new information and communication technologies. Pierre Lévy’s book, Cyberculture, conceives engineering as the social bond that promotes the creation of open knowledge trees democratically accessible to all. On this matter, we should consider Filipe Marques’ work as he seizes different ideas from crucial authors for the understanding of the 20th century, such as Ludwing Wittgenstein, Theodor Adorno, Roland Barthes, Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze, Jean Baudrillard, Arthur Danto and Jacques Rancière. These authors’ aesthetics are associated to writing, speech and the concept of simulacrum. Therefore, the artist is interested in taking recurrent pictures from the Web and putting them into his pictorial universe.
While browsing the menu bars on search results pages, the artist resumes Gilles Deleuze’s idea of open library, connecting it with Levy’s cyberculture and uses the Modern Art painting manifestos, Abstract Art and Pop Art to lay the foundations for his pictorial research.
Filipe Marques creates a mosaic of western thought on Literature, Philosophy and the Visual Arts. He combines Suprematism, Color Field painting, Neo-Plasticism, Informalism (the European parallel movement to U.S. Abstract Expressionism) and Minimalism with modern Philosophy theories which were the key for understanding the modern human being. First and foremost, Filipe Marques’ establishes a relation of anticipation or intervention in his visual research between these two levels, thus providing a key to enter into this field of knowledge. The spectator just has to turn the key.
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