Thursday, 11 March 2010

Philosophising the Icon

Modernity was the ‘era of iconoclasm’ where truth became conceived as 'inner and representational' rather than materialised in the artwork. As Gadamer pointed out, with the rise of modern subjectivism the artwork becomes reduced to the 'merely aesthetic'; to questins of personal experience alone.

However, in recent years we have the return of the icon; not only on our computer and television screens but also in terms of the idiom of the 'iconic' figure or idea.

How are we to understand the power of the icon in philosophical terms? Hegel did not like the idea of 'picture thought'; but might pictures in fact be the future of thought? Might we be on the threshold of new era of thinking where the distinction between thught and images collapses?

Neil Turnbull

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