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Pierre Klossowski

The Pantomime of Spirits

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Hervé Castanet

This book examines the many facets of the work of Pierre Klossowski (1905–2001). Klossowski first established himself as a writer and was known and admired by peers such as Bataille, Blanchot, Gide, Foucault, Deleuze and Lacan. But in 1972 he gave up writing to devote himself to his ‘mutism’: painting made up of large coloured drawings. In time he became as famous a painter as he had been a writer and theorist. Klossowski now has two separate groups of commentators: those concerned with his writings and those with his painting, with little overlap between the two.
Here, this separation is explicitly removed. Klossowski’s entire œuvre revolved around the concept of the gaze. Rarely has the gaze been so radically interpreted – as an active, mobile, evanescent object that breaks down the connections between representation and the visible. How is one to see the invisible divinity? This question plagued Klossowski, and he displaced it onto pornographic rituals. The pantomime of spirits is the scene, fixed in silence, where bodies meet – a knotting of desiring body and dogmatic theology. A creator of simulacra, Klossowski attempted to exorcise the ‘obsessive constraint of the phantasm’ that subjugated him in all these scenes.
Translated from the French by Adrian Price in collaboration with Pamela King.
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CULTURAL INTERACTIONS

Studies in the Relationship between the Arts

Edited by J.B. Bullen

Interdisciplinary activity is now a major feature of academic work in all fields. The traditional borders between the arts have been eroded to reveal new connections and create new links between art forms. Cultural Interactions is intended to provide a forum for this activity. It will publish monographs, edited collections and volumes of primary material on points of crossover such as those between literature and the visual arts or photography and fiction, music and theatre, sculpture and historiography. It will engage with book illustration, the manipulation of typography as an art form, or the ‘double work’ of poetry and painting and will offer the opportunity to broaden the field into wider and less charted areas. It will deal with modes of representation that cross the physiological boundaries of sight, hearing and touch and examine the placing of these modes within their representative cultures. It will offer an opportunity to publish on the crosscurrents of nationality and the transformations brought about by foreign art forms impinging upon others. The interface between the arts knows no boundaries of time or geography, history or theory.



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