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Picasso (in)human face

Cox, Neil (2011) 'Picasso (in)human face.' Angelaki, 16 (1). pp. 199-222. ISSN 0969-725X

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Abstract

Rejecting the notion that Picasso's representations of faces should always be considered in a biographical context as portraits, it is argued that in considering them as human faces we encounter a crisis in the idea of an essential humanity. The essay then discusses Picasso's faces relation to Georges Bataille's treatment of vernacular portrait photography and of animality in human emotional expression, arguing that Picasso's human faces court the inhuman. This inhuman countenance, bred so effectively in the artist's work in the 1930s and 1940s, raises in turn the question of the origin of the human in the inhuman. Turning to Bataille's discussion of the cave of Lascaux, discovered in 1940 and made to stand for the question of humanity posed so brutally by the war, the essay analyses the irruption of the origin of the human ideal in the sovereign act of the depiction of animality. A double refusal of destinies, of animality and of humanity, is caught before our eyes in such depictions. This temporal suspension of destinies is read back into Picasso's (in)human faces.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General)
N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
N Fine Arts > ND Painting
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities > Philosophy and Art History, School of
Depositing User: Jim Jamieson
Date Deposited: 22 May 2012 10:34
Last Modified: 14 Jun 2012 10:56
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/2441

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