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  You are in: Home > Literary Criticism > Encounters  

Gérard Titus-Carmel, Jean-Luc Nancy, Claire Denis

Zsuzsa Baross

Zsuzsa Baross teaches Film Studies and Critical Theory at Trent University, Canada. She is the author of The Scandal of Disease in Theory and Discourse (University of Amsterdam, 1988), and Posthumously: For Jacques Derrida (SAP, 2010), and has published a wide number of essays in anthologies and journals, including International Studies in Philosophy, New Literary History and Derrida Today.


The two essays in the volume follow a long tradition in critical discourse and turn to Art’s domain as a source of inspiration and instruction for the construction of its concepts and the development of its problems. The first essay addresses the encounter of Gérard Titus-Carmel with Grünewald’s famous altar piece, Crucifixion, in 159+1 variations, which take a musical form, or rather, whose form becomes musical; the second stages an encounter between the writings of Jean-Luc Nancy that patiently trace the interstices, gaps, and hollows that constitute “bodies” and the cinema of Claire Denis that invents an intensely sensuous relation to bodies it projects onto the screen.


In Place of a Preface

159+1 Variations or Painting Becoming Music

Il y a du Rapport Sexuel: The Body in the Cinema of Claire Denis and the Writing
of Jean-Luc Nancy

Extract from review article "The art of the encounter" to appear in Postmodern Culture in Autumn 2016, by Ronald Bogue, Distinguished Research Professor and a Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor, University of Georgia

The art of the encounter, Baross shows, is a discipline of the contingent, a long preparation for the advent of the impersonal event, “an interruption, an irruption, opening (to) another future.”

The encounter that occasioned Baross’s study of Titus-Carmel was a hallucinatory sensation when first visiting the Suite Grünewald exhibition: “I believe I hear music—a trill on a single instrument, a short piano trah-la-la—faintly emanating from the picture-space of the drawings” (19). Her response to this contingent, disorienting event is to consider the Suite as a musical composition—not in some vague, impressionistic sense, but in a rigorous, philosophical sense that questions the limits of painting and music and seeks to uncover a becoming-music proper to Titus-Carmel’s artwork. She finds the musicality of the Suite in various formal relations of color and line, extracted from Grünewald and then reconfigured, and in their variation within and across drawings. The variations of these extractions and reconfigurations ultimately generate a temporality specific to the Suite, one that discloses a zone of indiscernibility between the forms of painterly and musical composition, a time-space of a becoming-music immanent to the artwork itself.

Reviwed in Postmodern Culture, Volume 26, Number 1, September 2016


Publication Details

Hardback ISBN:
Paperback ISBN:
Page Extent / Format:
112 pp / 229 x 152 mm
Release Date:
Hardback, March/April 2015; Paperback, November 2015
  Illustrated:   16-page colour plate section
Hardback Price:
£45.00 / $60.00
Paperback Price:
£27.50 / $39.95

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