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The intertwining – Damisch, Bois, and October’s rethinking of painting

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While most of Hubert Damisch’s major books have been made available in English since the publication of Yve-Alain Bois’ review essay ‘Painting as model’, it nonetheless remains a shame that FenĂȘtre Jaune Cadmium (Damisch 1984) – the subject of Bois’ review – has not been translated. Although best known as a specialist in Renaissance art, the essays of FenĂȘtre show how Damisch’s distinct art-theoretical project emerges from his early writings on modernist and post-war painting, phenomenology and structuralism. This paper argues that Damisch’s writings and Bois’ essay serves as a crux for the October journal. October was at the forefront of the critique against painting during the early 1980s, but the publication of ‘Painting as model’ suggests a sea change in the journal. I shall examine how Damisch’s entwining of phenomenology and structuralism, as a model for October that helped it revise its understanding of painting and for rethinking the relationship between art history and art criticism.
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Keywords: Hubert Damisch; October journal; Yve-Alain Bois; painting; phenomenology; structuralism

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Suffolk

Publication date: April 1, 2019

More about this publication?
  • Journal of Contemporary Painting responds to the territory and practice of contemporary painting in its broadest sense, viewing painting as a context for discussion, exploring its sphere of history and influence, rather than as a medium specific debate. The JCP combines a thematic approach with an open call, each issue opening up and problematising pressing concerns in contemporary painting.

    As well as contributions to current debates on contemporary art, a particular feature of the Journal of Contemporary Painting is the publication of archival or newly translated texts alongside current responsive articles, based on the premise that contemporary painting cannot be understood without reflecting on its history. Dedication to understanding the nature and forms of painting research has also led to the inclusions of an original visual essay for every edition. Additionally we respond to current exhibitions, books and symposia, nationally and internationally, in our reviews section.

    Our aim is to be responsive to current debates in painting and related art practices, drawing from a wide geographical field and across discipline boundaries to provide a discursive space in which a range of subject specialisms can be brought to bear on the culture of painting. We are particularly interested in writing emerging from practice-based research as well as from academics working in different disciplines.

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