Modern Period

Henri de Riedmatten

Narcissus in Troubled Waters.

Francis Bacon, Bill Viola, Jeff Wall.

Protea, 3
2014, 240 pp., 142 ill. col.
Paperback, 17 x 23 cm
ISBN: 9788891304896

€ 44,00
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  • Abstract

    Narcissus in Troubled Waters explores the myth of Narcissus from its earliest sources, to offer a study of its repercussions on the art of the 20th century.
    The myth is a cultural archetype, to be found all through Western literature and art history, a myth that is at the origin of a strategy of representation that confronts a person with his or her own image through a medium. This study brings to light the situations of illusion structuring this founding story in each of its variations, and examines their reformulation in visual terms: in the work of Caravaggio and Poussin, then through various examples taken from the artistic activity of the 20th century right up to our own time.
    As such, the metamorphosis of Narcissus into a concept-narcissism-and above all its re-elaboration through the image-the mirror stage-are confronted with the myth. On the strength of the different historical, exegetic, and visual layers covering the story of Narcissus, this book offers case studies taken from the work of three artists, Francis Bacon, Bill Viola, and Jeff Wall. Each of the three bodies of work selected exemplifies the use of a different artistic medium: painting, video, and photography. They offer not only a reverberation of the myth and/or its visual instantiations but can, moreover, interact with each other, communicating at times through the grace of an explicit reference from one artist to another, in such a way that this work is constructed as a coherent thematic circuit.

    Henri de Riedmatten is Head of the Research Program of the Swiss Institute in Rome. He holds a master's in philosophy and a doctorate in history of art from the University of Fribourg, Switzerland. In the course of his studies he has been a research assistant at Harvard University, and a scientific collaborator at the National Centre of Competence in Research "Mediality- Historical Perspectives" of the Swiss National Science Foundation. He is also the author of articles on issues of reflection and self-reflection in contemporary art.

  • Table of Contents

    ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    PREFACE by Victor I. Stoichita
    1. INTRODUCTION
    2. THE SOURCES OF NARCISSUS
    Ovid
    The Stage of the Other
    Caravaggio's Narcissus
    The Stage of the Mirror
    Nicolas Poussin, Echo and Narcissus
    Greek Sources
    Konon
    Pausanias
    The Narcissus Flower in the Myth of Demeter and Persephone
    Philostratus
    Poussin, The Birth of Bacchus
    In the Mirror of Zagreus/Dionysos
    Leon Battista Alberti
    3. NARCISSUS ENCOUNTERING NARCISSISM:
    THE MIRROR IMAGE
    Jacques Lacan: The Mirror Stage
    The Specular Reflection
    The Illusion of the Image
    Death
    Der Todestrieb
    Scopic Drive and Death Drive
    4. FRANCIS BACON
    "DE-FACED" SELF-PORTRAITS
    "Death at Work
    Late 60s
    The Face in Shreds
    The Face on a Strip
    Early 70s
    The Black Hole-Face
    The End
    The Face of Shadow and Light
    The Face to Dust
    5. BILL VIOLA
    A DISTURBED MIRROR
    The Reflecting Pool
    Narcissus in Tears
    The Passions
    Purification
    6. JEFF WALL
    SELF-REPRESENTATION AND THE SELF-REFLECTIVITY OF THE MEDIUM
    7. CONCLUSION
    8. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    PHOTOGRAPHY CREDITS

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