Pictorial space as Heterotopia: An Analysis of Ceci nest pas une pipe through Foucault's Archaeological Methodology
헤테로토피아로서의 회화 공간: 푸코의 고고학적 방법론을 통한 『이것은 파이프가 아니다』분석
- Peter W. Milne
- 인문대학 미학과
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 대학원
- 학위논문 (석사)-- 서울대학교 대학원 : 미학과, 2015. 8. Peter W. Milne.
- This study analyzes Ceci nest pas une pipe through Foucaults archaeological methodology and argues for the significance of a new pictorial space as heterotopia, that is, as a heterogeneous space contesting its surrounding orders within the existing society.
Foucault uses what he calls an archaeological methodology to analyze Magrittes paintings. Such a methodology does away with the blind faith in an unchanging, absolute, constituting subject, revealing the limitation of the existing rules by which we recognize and understand paintings, and describing Magrittes paintings as a significant event that contains the transformation of the rules of painting by redefining the relations of elements inside the pictures. According to Foucault, Magrittes paintings exploit the traditional functions and arrangements of linguistic and plastic representation so as to disturb their traditional relation. The two principles of traditional western paintings from the 15th century to the 20th century are as follows. 1) When linguistic representation and plastic representation meet at a certain place, the subordination of one to the other occurs, in spite of their separated mechanisms. 2) A plastic resemblance is reducible to the linguistic affirmation that says This is a representation of that. These two principles have been intended to build coherence between linguistic representations (words) and visual representations (images). But in Magrittes paintings, the predominant principles of representation are dislocated within the traditional representation system. Firstly, in his paintings, an original model or a common place shared by text and images, which guarantees the identity of representations, disappears. Once the original disappears, a title (words) of a painting no longer affirms the identity of images and images are released from the obligation of resembling the original. In the situation where one cannot say what represents what, images come into the self-referential relation of similitude.
Therefore, this study suggests that Foucault sees Magrittes painting on a threshold between, to use Foucaults archaeological terminology, the episteme of identity and that of dis-identity, where, instead of being an exemplar of a new age after the beginning of the 20th century, the established principles of representation are sustained on the surface but actually are transformed and broken off. On the threshold of the representational system, Magrittes paintings show not just historical variations of pictorial rules but the moment when the absoluteness of the predominant norms of the representational system are being cracked.
In this very sense, Magrittes paintings can be extended to a pictorial space of heterotopias. While a threshold is a descriptive term of the space between epistemes, heterotopia is an expression that applies the resistant possibility of threshold to the practical lives. This study firstly redefines, based on Foucaults archaeological methodology, as the space between epistemes. In the transitory space from one episteme to another, there occurs a rupture of knowledge system, the predominant norms operating in the existing society are shaken and different rules can be newly rising. In this space, we can map and take a critical view on the existing historical a priori working on the present knowledge system, in particular here, relating to the domain of representational paintings. As mentioned above, Magrittes paintings on a threshold visualize the traditional principles of representation that we taken for granted by distorting them. Furthermore, heterotopias have a possibility of resistance that denies the social order controlling us, even though they are a part of the society. It is possible because heterotopias have a characteristic of juxtaposing diverse sites which are incompatible. Diversity and incompatibility here means a number of differences that do not have common ground. That is, heterotopias collapse the base of knowledge shared by the whole society and make many different things crowded together in a space, which causes a situation where a existing rule cannot be dominant, where the established social norms cannot operate properly. Magrittes paintings can also be recognizable as a resistant space against the existing representational system governing on the basis of identity since the 15th century. This study, especially, demonstrates how La trahison des images, one of Magrittes famous paintings, functions as a heterotopic space. Through these discussions, this study articulates the concept of threshold in Foucaults archaeological analysis of Magrittes paintings and extends his paintings to the heterotopic space, a new pictorial space manifesting differences within the traditional representation system.