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JACQUES RANCIÈRE: Aisthesis: Scenes From the Aesthetic Regime of Art

 

In 2000, the French philosopher Jacques Rancière published The Politics of Aesthetics: The Distribution of the Sensible (Le Partage du sensible: Esthétique et politique) in which he introduced the concept of three “regimes of art” drawing from the historical regimes of the sensible and without determining any linear progression or schematic theses on their disappearance or replacement. These regimes include: the ethical regime of image (Platonist regime of art), the representative regime of the arts (Aristotelian regime of arts) and the aesthetic regime of art (modern regime of art). The last is a paradigm having a structure of relations between art and everyday that surpasses the classical territoriality of practices, skills and traditional classifications of different arts – it blurs the boundaries between art practices and life. Rancière further refines this paradigm in the book Aisthesis: Scenes From the Aesthetic Regime of Art (Aisthesis: Scènes du régime esthétique de l'art, 2011), where in 14 chapters he revisits fourteen examples of art (politics) as events or even “disruptions” that, among other things, challenge the order of the existing distribution of the sensible by addressing in the viewer that which was never addressed by the other two regimes of art. These are the examples from art and art discourses that in the period from 1764 to 1941 gradually introduce previously not explored modes of creating, producing, perceiving and thinking art. Rancière doesn't focus on the canonised modernist artists, such as Mondrian and Kandinsky, Malevich and Duchamp, but instead addresses, for instance, the practices in Folies Bergère and the poets who recorded these events, focuses on the extravagant dancer and choreographer Loïe Fuller, Chaplin’s films, Whitman’s poetry, Craig’s set design revolutions, etc. His objective is not a redefinition of modernism, but a consideration of that which was regarded as aesthetic disruption in the modernist paradigm. Rancière’s political conceptualisation of the sensible provides contemporary aesthetics an exciting and actual theorisation with regard to its situation in a somewhat depressive moment of our here and now.

 

Amelia Kraigher

 

Amelia Kraigher