ISSN: 20526695
First published in 2015
2 issues per volume
Volume 3 Issue 1-2
Cover Date: April 2017
Painting as commitment
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Authors:  Sunil Manghani 
DOI: 10.1386/jcp.3.1-2.55_1

anti-aesthetic,commitment,existentialism,network,painting,Jean-Paul Sartre

Jean-Paul Sartre opens What is Literature? with the comment, ‘No, we do not want to “commit” painting, sculpture, and music “too”, or at least not in the same way. And why would we want to?’ Sartre’s idea of the committed writer was a dominant and evocative account of intellectuals of the Left in the immediate postwar period, but was superseded with the arrival of ‘theory’ from Althusser onwards, and with post-structuralist notions fully decentring the subject. What might this mean for the painter? Taking an existential account of painting as its starting point, the article offers a reappraisal of the anti-aesthetic and postmodern debates of the 1980s, and suggests the need to re-situate painting as commitment in itself. Rather than simply the need to place painting within wider social networks, it is the inherent appeal to freedom that remains significant about the medium.
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