Across the breadth of his project Didi-Huberman has repeatedly declared his debt to MichelFoucault’s The Archaeology of Knowledge . In his first text, Invention of Hysteria , Didi-Huberman observed, ‘Archaeology tries to define not the thoughts, representations, images, themes, preoccupations that are concealed or revealed in discourses; but those discourses themselves, those discourses as practices obeying certain rules.’ 1 In the preface to the English edition of Confronting Images , he broadens his gaze from the birth of modern psychology at the
signals his ongoing engagement with the arguments advanced in MichelFoucault’s The Archaeology of Knowledge . In his opening paragraph, Foucault established archaeology’s hostility towards Hegelian-inspired, progressivist views of historical continuity, the longue durée of the Annales historians:
For many years now historians have preferred to turn their attention to long periods, as if, beneath the shifts and changes of political events, they were trying to reveal the stable, almost indestructible system of checks and balances, the irreversible processes
and relational virtualities, not so much through the intrinsic qualities of the homosexual but because
the ‘slantwise’ position of the latter, as it were, the diagonal lines he can lay out
in the social fabric allow these virtualities to come to light.
Foucault’s interest in reading the diagonal lines homosexuals trace in the
social fabric could be handily connected to how he accessed archives.
Historian Mike Featherstone has usefully described how Foucault used the
‘French national libraries in highly unorthodox ways by reading seemingly
MichelFoucault and the archive as the law of what can be said
Poststructuralist critique of history, particularly that delivered by French philosopher MichelFoucault, greatly contributed to a changed notion of the archive in the second half of the twentieth century. Foucault's importance for the increased interest in theorising archives stems in part from the way that the vocabulary and focus on archives was one of the key aspects of his early epistemology. Critical of the notion that the past is somehow out there
subjectivity, transforming them to a large
extent into an object of social activity rather than a subject or initiator.
This condition calls to mind MichelFoucault’s understanding of culture as structured around specific discourses, values, and norms that serve
as powerful mechanisms of social and cultural surveillance, and enable
powerful social groups to subject and control other groups.60 These discourses and values are culturally accepted as natural, while in fact embodying the hegemonic norms of the dominant group and policing us to
unconsciously conform to ‘acceptable
Didi-Huberman and the image is an introduction to French art historian and philosopher Georges Didi-Huberman. With an enormous body of work spanning four decades, Didi-Huberman is considered one of the most innovative and influential critical thinkers writing in France today. In this monograph art historian Chari Larsson presents the first extensive English-language study of Didi-Huberman’s research on images. Placing Didi-Huberman’s project in relation to major historical and philosophical frameworks, this book shows not only how Didi-Huberman modifies dominant traditions, but also how the study of images is central to a new way of thinking about poststructuralist-inspired art history. This book explores the origins of Didi-Huberman’s project, arguing he has sought renewal by turning the discipline of art history on its axis, wresting it away from its founding ‘fathers’ such as Giorgio Vasari and Erwin Panofsky and instead reorganising it along the poststructuralist lines of Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida and Gilles Deleuze. An image is a form of representation, but what is the philosophical framework supporting it? Didi-Huberman takes up this question repeatedly over the course of his career.
2013 : 105).
The model of the ‘mini-firm’ is not ideologically neutral, as artists and curators have to become entrepreneurs of the self in accord with the premises of → neoliberalism . MichelFoucault created the concept of the ‘entrepreneur of himself’ to discuss this tendency towards individuation, describing this state as ‘being for himself his own capital, being for himself his own producer, being for himself the source of [his] earnings’ (Foucault 2010 : 226). The entrepreneur of himself is not only individually responsible for his own
Part I is titled
‘Genealogy’ instead of the more conventional
‘history’. It signals the insight, following MichelFoucault, that historical accounts, far from being
‘objective’, exist as the result of discourses and are
hence subject to change. In a recent essay, the eminent American
Renaissance print scholar and curator Peter Parshall ( 2016
questions of the certainties
of progress; an art concerned to make difficult that which has, in some other contexts, been made to seem straightforward (to invoke here a comment made by
MichelFoucault on the idea of critique7). It is, therefore, through an insistence on
avoiding closure, on aesthetic qualities of provisionality and precariousness, on
constant alertness to the haunting of the present, that art can, potentially at least,
point us towards the necessary antagonism of ‘the political’ – making inconveniently visible, as Chantal Mouffe has said, ‘what the
related to a wider cross-disciplinary theorising of archives, I have argued that the ubiquity of the archive in art discourse must be connected to conditions very specific to contemporary art. One of this book's key propositions is that the notion of the archive comes to be intertwined with the structural underpinning of the post-war artworld. The notion of the archive formulated by MichelFoucault as ‘the law of what can be said’ could be seamlessly attached to the institutional theory of art, which had replaced the previous grounding of artworks in a teleological