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Future Use: Abstract Painting

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If means of communication are electronic, can painting be transmitted? If painting's appearance is entirely available to the surface and timing of film, it can be photographed, and screened. But Lyotard proposes qualities in painting that present an alternative resource for visualisation, to be valued for their isolation from industrialised imaging. He enquires about the significant experience of painting's visuality that is beyond photo-visibility, but nevertheless communicable. Clement Greenberg finds the essence of painting's communication lies in event-full encounter with the generic specificity of painting itself, characterised by reciprocity of 'at-onceness', that parallels the complex immediacy of visual experience in modernity. Roberts suggests another possibility: that the model of autonomy emerging from the consumption of painting may be communicated to other models of productive labour. This article accepts Roberts's ethical questions about transmitting the conception of the painter's 'skilled hand', but emphasises the social dimension of the opticality of painting's surface.

Keywords: Abstract; abstraction; avant-garde; future; kitsch; modernity; painter; painting; sublime; visuality

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2009-09-01

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