In the first half of the Thirties Walter Benjamin offers two radically different interpretations of the legend of the Chinese painter who disappears in his own painting after having trespassed the threshold dividing the representative space of the image from the actual space of reality: in Berlin Childhood around 1900 the anecdote is presented as a positive example of tactile identification between subject and object; in the versions of the essay The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility the vanishing painter becomes the paradigm of the optical contemplation of the cultural auratic image. In my paper I will try to clarify such interpretative switch from nearness to farness, exploring three major issues: the question of the threshold between reality and representation; the criticism of empathic identification (shared by Benjamin with Brecht); the admiration for Chinese culture, expressed by Benjamin in many passages of his work, and metabolized in a peculiar conception of “Chinese dialectics”.

The Painter through the Fourth Wall of China : Benjamin and the Threshold of the Image / A. Pinotti - In: Benjamin-Studien 3 / [a cura di] S. Weigel, D. Weidner. - Prima edizione. - München : Wilhelm Fink, 2014. - ISBN 9783770557820. - pp. 133-149

The Painter through the Fourth Wall of China : Benjamin and the Threshold of the Image

A. Pinotti
2014

Abstract

In the first half of the Thirties Walter Benjamin offers two radically different interpretations of the legend of the Chinese painter who disappears in his own painting after having trespassed the threshold dividing the representative space of the image from the actual space of reality: in Berlin Childhood around 1900 the anecdote is presented as a positive example of tactile identification between subject and object; in the versions of the essay The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility the vanishing painter becomes the paradigm of the optical contemplation of the cultural auratic image. In my paper I will try to clarify such interpretative switch from nearness to farness, exploring three major issues: the question of the threshold between reality and representation; the criticism of empathic identification (shared by Benjamin with Brecht); the admiration for Chinese culture, expressed by Benjamin in many passages of his work, and metabolized in a peculiar conception of “Chinese dialectics”.
Walter Benjamin; aesthetics; chinese painting; image theory; fourth wall
Settore M-FIL/04 - Estetica
Settore L-ART/04 - Museologia e Critica Artistica e del Restauro
Book Part (author)
File in questo prodotto:
File Dimensione Formato  
2014-PINOTTI-The Painter Fourth Wall_Benjamin-Studien3-FINK.pdf

accesso riservato

Descrizione: Benjamin Chinese Painter Fourth Wall China
Tipologia: Publisher's version/PDF
Dimensione 613.88 kB
Formato Adobe PDF
613.88 kB Adobe PDF   Visualizza/Apri   Richiedi una copia
Pubblicazioni consigliate

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2434/252791
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus ND
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? ND
social impact