Material thinking in art: subject, object and the subjectile
Long, T. 2012. Material thinking in art: subject, object and the subjectile. PhD Thesis University College London Slade School of Fine Art
My thesis examines work by Antonin Artaud, Henry Darger, Marcel Duchamp, and Pablo Picasso, with the intention of subjecting specific works by these artists to critical tests employing the idea proposed by Antonin Artaud's subjectile, that is a paradoxical fusion of both subject and object. As a critical device the subjectile is useful both for discussing art and making it, enabling me to explore my own practice, which seeks to articulate problematic aspects of subjective status and the end limits of the subject.
Artaud describes in his writing and depicts in his drawing how his body is in a state of fusion with objects. Or, he adopts a creative process that presents subjective integrity as if it overlaps and is contiguous with objects. The first, rational and empirical direction determines there is no sensation and no animation in objects, so they do not retain in their material mass any attributes of subjectivity. The second direction proposes that objects are hybrid and metamorphic: sensation, and attributes of the subject are contiguous with the material properties of objects. The poetics of corporeality Artaud develops in his works maintains a consistent attitude to extension, proposing that sensation and substantial material qualities of the human body are discovered in objects, especially in art.
I argue that the subjectile deploys paranoid devices to understand subjective difficulties. I discuss paranoia and the subjectile in relation to Deleuze and Guattari's understanding of Artaud's 'Body without Organs', and Derrida's essay 'Maddening the Subjectile'. I also draw upon Melanie Klein's object relations theory, which discusses split up parts of the subject that are ambivalent, projected and expelled, enabling discussion of subjectiles as partial attributes of the subject that form part of a broader culture, through the engagement of aesthetic, formal, and historical registers in art.
|Publication process dates|
|Deposited||11 Mar 2013|
|Completed||28 Oct 2012|
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