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IAS Book Launch: Cezanne's Gravity

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IAS Forum

Ground Floor, South Wing, UCL

Gower Street

London, WC1E 6BT

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IAS Book Launch

Cezanne's Gravity

Carol Armstrong (History of Art, Yale University)

Briony Fer (History of Art, UCL) and Alex Potts (History of Art, University of Michigan) will provide responses.

Chaired by Tamar Garb (IAS and History of Art, UCL)

Cézanne's Gravity addresses some of Paul Cézanne's after-lives, actual and possible, looked at, not through the lens of "rezeptionsaesthetik," but in order to see his work anew from "at least two" perspectives, to quote Luce Irigaray. Beginning with a prologue treating Cézanne's own pairing of his reputation with that of Edouard Manet, and concluding with an epilogue focused on Clement Greenberg's and Helen Frankenthaler's different understandings of the example set by Cézanne, it pairs Cézanne's paintings with the work of figures in other fields, some of whom were directly concerned with Cézanne's art, others of whom were not, in order to refract each through the other: the Bloomsbury modernism of Roger Fry, Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell; Albert Einstein and the 20th-century physics that he inaugurated; the phenomenological philosophy of Maurice Merleau-Ponty; the letters and poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke; and R.D. Laing's existential understanding of the schizophrenic mind. Its aim is to substitute a "heterochronic" narrative for the modernist teleology whose origin point is so often held to be the work of Cézanne, and thereby to defamiliarize the art of this most strange of painters. Emphasizing Cézanne's still lifes and moving in a recursive fashion inward and outward from them to his work in other genres, it proceeds on the principle that painting is a kind of "material thought" equal in gravitas to but different in kind from the thought-work accomplished in other disciplines, such as literature, philosophy, physical and cognitive science.

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IAS Forum

Ground Floor, South Wing, UCL

Gower Street

London, WC1E 6BT

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