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Being a Skull

Place, Contact, Thought, Sculpturesee

2016
Author:

Georges Didi-Huberman

Being a Skull

A renowned art historian’s exploration of the work of the Italian artist Giuseppe Penone

Through a careful study of artist Giuseppe Penone’s work regarding a sculptural and haptic process of contact with place, thought, and artistic practice, Georges Didi-Huberman examines various modes of thinking by way of being. Didi-Huberman sketches a sweeping view of how artists have worked with conceptions of the skull, that is, the mind, and ruminates on where thought is indeed located.

Being a Skull

Tags

2016 Fall

What would a sculpture look like that has as its task to touch thought? For the French philosopher and Art Historian, Georges Didi-Huberman, this is the central question that permeates throughout the work of Italian artist Giuseppe Penone. Through a careful study of Penone’s work regarding a sculptural and haptic process of contact with place, thought, and artistic practice, Didi-Huberman takes the reader on a journey through various modes of thinking by way of being. Taking Penone’s artwork “Being the river” as a thematic starting point, Didi-Huberman sketches a sweeping view of how artists through the centuries have worked with conceptions of the skull, that is, the mind, and ruminates on where thought is indeed located.

From Leonardo da Vinci to Albrecht Dürer, Didi-Huberman guides us to the work of Penone and from there, into the attempts of a sculptor whose works strives to touch thought. What we uncover is a sculptor whose work becomes a series of traces of the site of thought. Attempting to trace, by way of a series of frottages, reports, and developments, this imperceptible zone of contact. The result is a kind of fossil of the brain: the site of thought, namely, the site for getting lost and for disproving space. Sculpting at the same time what inhabits as well as what incorporates us.

Being a Skull

Georges Didi-Huberman is a lecturer at the Ecole des hautes etudes en sciences sociales in Paris. He has published over 20 books on art history and philosophy including Fra Angelico: Dissemblance and Figuration (1995) and Confronting Images: Questioning the Ends of A Certain History of Art (2009). He is also the recipient of the 2015 Adorno Prize

Drew S. Burk has translated works by thinkers such as François Laruelle, Gilbert Simondon, and Fernand Deligny. He lives in Minneapolis, MN.

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