Sophie Nys - Exhibition

Offset print on multi-offset 120 gr.
A1 (84,1 x 59,4 cm) folded to A4 (29,7 x 21 cm)

Signed & numbered edition of 100 (+7 A.P.)

sunday # 003
50 €

When Martin Heidegger first published Die Zeit des Weltbildes (The Age of the World Picture) in 1938, this prophetic early critique of the oppressive regime of scientific (i.e. quantifying and mechanizing or mechanistic) thought followed closely on the heels of his much better-known essay on the “origin of the work of art” from 1936.

One of the invisible ghosts that could be said to haunt Das Ursprung des Kunstwerkes is Heidegger’s romantic attachment to the idea (and ideal) of uniqueness and singularity in the work of art; in this regard the essay clearly engages in a dialogue with another classic art-theoretical text from the same year, namely Walter Benjamin’s Das Kunstwerk im Zeitalter seiner technischen Reproduzierbarkeit (The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction – note how ‘Reproduzierbarkeit’ and ‘Reproduction’ are in fact very different things) – an essay in which technology is effectively hailed as the revolutionary saviour of a moribund culture. The technology of mechanical reproduction has certainly revolutionized the dissemination of art imagery as well as art proper: it has liberated the artwork from the constraints of spaces (that is to say, always having to be at one place at a time only) and handed it over to the free flow of time.

Heidegger would probably not have enjoyed seeing his personal toilet seat (which we may be sure was hand-crafted by a village artisan) partake in the techno-utopia of multiplication: of this fetishistic object, once the potent symbol of a specific ‘world picture’, today only a myriad shadows remain – it is no longer present, in other words, only re-presented: spaceless yet timely. And Benjamin would perhaps not have wanted to sit on the real thing – yet he certainly would have enjoyed its demystification in print.

Dieter Roelstraete.

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