In this important new book the leading philosopher Jacques
Ranciere continues his reflections on the representative power of
works of art. How does art render events that have spanned an era?
What roles does it assign to those who enacted them or those who
were the victims of such events? Ranciere considers these questions
in relation to the works of Claude Lanzmann, Goya, Manet, Kandinsky
and Barnett Newman, among others, and demonstrates that these
issues are not only confined to the spectator but have greater
ramifications for the history of art itself.
For Ranciere, every image, in what it shows and what it hides,
says something about what it is permissible to show and what must
be hidden in any given place and time. Indeed the image, in its act
of showing and hiding, can reopen debates that the official
historical record had supposedly determined once and for all. He
argues that representing the past can imprison history, but it can
also liberate its true meaning.
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