Facing the Uncanny: Questioning Art with E. Levinas
Keywords: art, face, uncanny, ethics, Levinas
AbstractThe article peruses the idea that art, and more specifically, representation of the face, has something monstrous and uncanny in it. The author concentrates on Levinas’s philosophy and shows that, first, art by giving the image to the face, freezes it in a plastic form and by this means turns it inevitably into a caricature. Second, face in art, unlike alive face, lacks temporality. What is lively, what is human expression is locked, not able to change, not exposed to vulnerability and therefore no longer is an ethical face of the Other. The article argues that Levinas does not reject the art but tries to re-locate it in a larger context of world: its meaning comes from being engaged in the word: social, cultural, political and above all ethical context.
Epistemology and Morals