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Art and destruction

Solvent form examines the destruction of art—through objects that have been destroyed (lost in fires, floods, vandalism, or similarly those artists that actively court or represent this destruction, such as Gustav Metzger), but also as a process within art that the object courts through form. In this manner, Solvent form looks to events such as the Momart warehouse fire in 2004 as well as the actions of art thief Stéphane Breitwieser in which the stolen work was destroyed. Against this overlay, a tendency is mapped whereby individuals attempt to conceptually gather these destroyed or lost objects, to somehow recoup in their absence. From this vantage, Solvent form—hinging on the dual meaning in the words solvent and solvency—proposes an idea of art as an attempt to secure and fix, which correspondingly undoes and destroys through its inception. It also weaves a narrative of art that intermingles with Jean Baudrillard’s ideas on disappearance, Georges Bataille and Paul Virilio’s negative or reverse miracle, Jean-Luc Nancy’s concept of the image (or imago as votive that keeps present the past, yet also burns), and Giorgio Agamben’s notion of art as an attempt to make the moment appear permeable. Likewise, it is through these destructions that one might distinguish a solvency within art and catch an operation in which something is made visible through these moments of destruction when art’s metaphorical undoing emerges as oddly literal.

Jared Pappas-Kelley

attempt to conceptually gather these destroyed or lost objects, to somehow recoup them in their absence. This might be observed through recent projects, such as Jonathan Jones’s Museum of Lost Art, the Tate Modern’s Gallery of Lost Art, or Henri Lefebvre’s text The Missing Pieces; along with exhibitions that position art as destruction, such as Damage Control at the Hirschhorn Museum or Under Destruction by the Swiss Institute in New York. In this sense, destroyed art emerges as a sort of ruin or oddity in which one might wander in the present; however, it might also

in Solvent form
Author: Laura Varnam

The church as sacred space places the reader at the heart of medieval religious life, standing inside the church with the medieval laity in order to ask what the church meant to them and why. It examines the church as a building, idea, and community, and explores the ways in which the sanctity of the church was crucial to its place at the centre of lay devotion and parish life. At a time when the parish church was facing competition for lay attention, and dissenting movements such as Lollardy were challenging the relevance of the material church, the book examines what was at stake in discussions of sanctity and its manifestations. Exploring a range of Middle English literature alongside liturgy, architecture, and material culture, the book explores the ways in which the sanctity of the church was constructed and maintained for the edification of the laity. Drawing on a wide range of contemporary theoretical approaches, the book offers a reading of the church as continually produced and negotiated by the rituals, performances, and practices of its lay communities, who were constantly being asked to attend to its material form, visual decorations, and significance. The meaning of the church was a dominant question in late-medieval religious culture and this book provides an invaluable context for students and academics working on lay religious experience and canonical Middle English texts.

Crossing boundaries and negotiating the cultural landscape
Author: Janice Norwood

Victorian touring actresses: Crossing boundaries and negotiating the cultural landscape provides a new perspective on the on- and offstage lives of women working in nineteenth-century theatre, and affirms the central role of touring, both within the United Kingdom and in North America and Australasia. Drawing on extensive archival research, it features a cross-section of neglected performers whose dramatic specialisms range from tragedy to burlesque. Although they were employed as stars in their own time, their contribution to the industry has largely been forgotten. The book’s innovative organisation follows a natural lifecycle, enabling a detailed examination of the practical challenges and opportunities typically encountered by the actress at each stage of her working life. Individual experiences are scrutinised to highlight the career implications of strategies adopted to cope with the demands of the profession, the physical potential of the actress’s body, and the operation of gendered power on and offstage. Analysis is situated in a wide contextual framework and reveals how reception and success depended on the performer’s response to the changing political, economic, social and cultural landscape as well as to developments in professional practice and organisation. The book concludes with discussion of the legacies of the performers, linking their experiences to the present-day situation.

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Helena Ifill

not inherently more violent or more prone to crime than other groups. But black people are disproportionately poorer, more likely to be targeted by police and arrested, and more likely to attend poor or failing schools.’3 The near impossibility of buying a card for a new-​born baby that is not pink or blue shows that we are still labouring under facile conceptions of what it means to be a boy or a girl, and books that (only semi-​humorously) play on gender stereotypes, such as How to Mow the Lawn: The Lost Art of Being a Man, reveal continued anxiety about how to

in Creating character
Jared Pappas-Kelley

what art is and can be in our time. With destroyed or lost art objects, as well as in our definition of art, there is a sleight of hand, and perhaps it is time that we begin again here with how we talk about art. To catch a bit of this, we may first look to the accustomed function of the portrait, but perhaps in its most general terms—as an ability to hold a likeness, a portrait of a landscape, a person, or, through abstraction, an emotional state or concept—in this sense, the image itself. The portrait attempts to represent an affinity, to coax or draw it out, yet

in Solvent form
Jared Pappas-Kelley

things racked against walls, packed, labeled, deferred as future utility; and perhaps we are overly comfortable with an art relegated simply to its role as thing, or to things in general. Yet how much separates an absentee object in a warehouse waiting for fire (as effect from the cause) and its lost counterparts in Jones’s Museum of Lost Art—as if in understanding this readying for their final close-up, perhaps we might lastly set our fingers on art amid the portmanteau (that shatters external form).15 This is what incidents such as Momart bring most into focus, an

in Solvent form
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Jared Pappas-Kelley

thing undone (and through this bit that attempts to linger, likewise, this remainder). Things lie  121 In looking for something amid the destruction of art, among the disarray, we begin gathering together these objects that become lost into sites from which they might be viewed: Rembrandt • Cézanne • Manet • Braque • Vermeer • Serra • Kerouac • Holzer • Apelles • Duchamp • Van Gogh • Rembrandt • (continuing amid an ellipsis of implied future as a rudimentary Morse code of absence) … Suspended into museums of lost art, documented, written about, and when that does

in Solvent form
Thomas Ligotti and the ‘suicide’ of the human race
Xavier Aldana Reyes and Rachid M'Rabty

expression of existential crises provoked by revelations about the nature of life as we understand it. Although the odd classical monster finds her/his way into some of his stories – the vampires in ‘The Lost Art of Twilight’ (1986); the rewritings of works by Bram Stoker or Mary Shelley, among others, in The Agonizing Resurrection of Victor Frankenstein – Ligotti’s supernatural beings tend to be Hoffmannesque dummies, clowns and living puppets, or else obsessive, deranged experts in ‘putrid arcana’, as the narrator in ‘The Sect of the Idiot’ (1988) puts it. 7

in Suicide and the Gothic
Suicide and the self in the fin-de-siècle Gothic
Andrew Smith

becomes transformed into the type of hereditary tendency that was reworked in theories of degeneration. The Picture of Dorian Gray appears to balance three types of theory, centring on art, psychology and physiology, against each other. These are kept in tension because Wotton distinguishes between art and psychology by assigning art a privileged place which is beyond human experience (as witnessed in his account of Sybil’s suicide which focuses on her as lost art). Physiology is of a different order of knowledge

in Suicide and the Gothic