Imperatives: Andrew Benjamin. Disclosing Spaces: On Painting. Manchester: Clinamen Press, 2004 [Review essay]

2017-05-17T11:26:33Z (GMT) by Dimitris Vardoulakis
Announcing the operation of imperatives in the review of a book on art has at least three registers. First, there is the laudatory imperative, which calls for an appraisal of the work by the reviewer. Second, given that Andrew Benjamin's <i>Disclosing Spaces</i> is, as its subtitle indicates, a book On Painting, then the imperative alludes also to the rules or precepts that any critical enterprise of art calls forth. Value judgements on particular paintings would depend on such rules. However, besides these two obvious registers of the imperative, there is a further one, maybe implicit but from a philosophical perspective even more crucial. Namely, the imperative of the examination of the imperatives' extension. In other words, this is the question of the work that laws, limits, borders, and so on, do in an explication of the art work. Or, vis-à-vis the law, what are the conditions of the possibility of the art work, and of the critical act, as well as the art work and criticism taken together? How does the imperative of the imperatives unfold?