China and Colette Brunschwig’s Art of Witnessing

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Steven Shankman discusses the genesis of a remarkable and singular work, influenced by calligraphy and traditional Chinese art, which today forms part of national French collections (Centre Georges Pompidou and the Musée d’art moderne, Paris). Hidden during the Second World War by a friend who introduced her to traditional Chinese art, Colette Brunschwig was seduced by the practice of calligraphy, the ‘interiority’ of painting liberated from the notion of representation, and by ‘le vide à la source de l’inspiration’, in the words of Marinette Bruno. The work of Emmanuel Levinas, particularly his theory that the truth of testimony is not the truth of representation, guides Shankman’s thinking throughout the article.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: September 1, 2010

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