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Realist by Nature, by Nature Abstract: Personalist Aesthetics in Mounier and Henry

Eriksson, Jonnie LU (2013) 12th International Conference on Persons
Abstract
In the “sketch for a personalist aesthetic” in Le Personnalisme (1949), Emmanuel Mounier cautioned that the tendency towards abstraction in modern art was a sign of nihilism; but he also saw in it a promise to reveal a reality which transcends our habitual view of the world. To Mounier, there is a paradox in the nature of art: it is both realist and abstract; it deals with the reality of beings while attempting to communicate transcendence. If abstract art can avoid esotericism, it can make the personal communal and speak to the common man. This paper argues that such a personalist aesthetic is realized in Michel Henry’s later phenomenology—in his monograph on Kandinsky, Voir l’invisible (1988), and his subsequent Christological... (More)
In the “sketch for a personalist aesthetic” in Le Personnalisme (1949), Emmanuel Mounier cautioned that the tendency towards abstraction in modern art was a sign of nihilism; but he also saw in it a promise to reveal a reality which transcends our habitual view of the world. To Mounier, there is a paradox in the nature of art: it is both realist and abstract; it deals with the reality of beings while attempting to communicate transcendence. If abstract art can avoid esotericism, it can make the personal communal and speak to the common man. This paper argues that such a personalist aesthetic is realized in Michel Henry’s later phenomenology—in his monograph on Kandinsky, Voir l’invisible (1988), and his subsequent Christological meditations—which treats the possibilities to express the mystery of subjectivity in a communal personhood. Theologically, this is revealed in incarnation; aesthetically, in abstraction. For Henry, the inner life of emotions cannot be communicated by representation, but only by a radical expression of human reality in abstract art. Thereby human subjectivity is joined with the person of Christ, for the essence of art, revealed in abstraction, is the “resurrection of eternal life.” (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to conference
publication status
unpublished
subject
keywords
Emmanuel Mounier, Michel Henry, personalism, material phenomenology, abstract art
pages
7 pages
conference name
12th International Conference on Persons
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
217c2acc-8d7a-485e-963b-2eaa55b9db31 (old id 4065241)
date added to LUP
2013-10-14 13:53:35
date last changed
2016-04-16 12:37:38
@misc{217c2acc-8d7a-485e-963b-2eaa55b9db31,
  abstract     = {In the “sketch for a personalist aesthetic” in Le Personnalisme (1949), Emmanuel Mounier cautioned that the tendency towards abstraction in modern art was a sign of nihilism; but he also saw in it a promise to reveal a reality which transcends our habitual view of the world. To Mounier, there is a paradox in the nature of art: it is both realist and abstract; it deals with the reality of beings while attempting to communicate transcendence. If abstract art can avoid esotericism, it can make the personal communal and speak to the common man. This paper argues that such a personalist aesthetic is realized in Michel Henry’s later phenomenology—in his monograph on Kandinsky, Voir l’invisible (1988), and his subsequent Christological meditations—which treats the possibilities to express the mystery of subjectivity in a communal personhood. Theologically, this is revealed in incarnation; aesthetically, in abstraction. For Henry, the inner life of emotions cannot be communicated by representation, but only by a radical expression of human reality in abstract art. Thereby human subjectivity is joined with the person of Christ, for the essence of art, revealed in abstraction, is the “resurrection of eternal life.”},
  author       = {Eriksson, Jonnie},
  keyword      = {Emmanuel Mounier,Michel Henry,personalism,material phenomenology,abstract art},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {7},
  title        = {Realist by Nature, by Nature Abstract: Personalist Aesthetics in Mounier and Henry},
  year         = {2013},
}