April 2010

‘the whole POV from which the necessity arose’ – Stanislas on his father, Balthus

– Eric Gill, Girl with a deer. Ex libris Ananda Coomaraswamy, 1925

the true appreciation of art … the philosopher A.K. Coomaraswamy warns us, ‘must not be confused with a psycho-analysis of our likes and dislikes dignified by the name of “aesthetic reactions” … The study of art, it is to have any cultural value, will demand two far more difficult operations than this, in the first place an understanding and acceptance of the whole point of view from which the necessity for the work arose, and in the second place a bringing to life in ourselves of the form in which the artist conceived the work and by which he judged it. …’ …

– Ananda K. Coomaraswamy

Should one be able to overcome the superficial handicap of one’s ‘aesthetic reactions’ (described by the anthropologist R. Firth as ‘an excrescence upon a genuine interest in art which seems peculiar to civilized peoples’), one might then be able to penetrate the deeper meaning of the work and thus truly to judge it.

– Stanislas Klossowski de Rola, Balthus, Thames and Hudson, London, 1996, p. 19

– Stella Bloch, photograph by Ananda Kentish Coomaraswamy, c. 1920


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demonic difference and planar repetition – Foucault on Klossowski, with manual

The simulacrum still presents itself in its sparkling freshness, without resorting to the enigma of signs. There, phantasms are the welcome of appearance in the light of origin. But this origin is one that by its own movement recedes into an inaccessible remoteness. Diana at her bath, the goddess stealing away into the water at the moment in which she offers herself to the gaze, is not only the turning away of the Greek gods; it is the moment in which the intact unity of the divine “reflects its divinity in a virgin body,” and thereby doubles into a demon who makes her, at a distance from herself, appear chaste and at the same time offers her to the violence of the Goat.

– Michel Foucault, “The Prose of Actæon,” pp. xxi-xxxviii, in Pierre Klossowski’s The Baphomet, (dedicated by the author to Michel Foucault,) Eridanos Press, New York, 1988, p. xxxv

in a single layer of language there opens up that inner distance of identity that enables the work to exist in the very presence of the work and enables the work to slip away inside this commentary, which is nevertheless its only form of existence: the mystery of real presence and the enigma of the Same.

– Ibid. p. xxxvi


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