Art History Supplement, September 2014
Deadline for final submission of manuscripts: August 15, 2014
Contact: Ioannis Tzortzakakis, firstname.lastname@example.org
This issue of Art History Supplement seeks to address issues regarding the work of French philosopher and art historian Louis Marin (1931 – 1992) and the material shift in art history. What do we actually mean by the study of material culture in history of art? One may support that the artefacts that are not considered art are part of the material culture. However, do we subsequently, if not intentionally, tend to separate the notions of art and material? Whilst, despite art being “mirror” or representation, it is primarily of a material nature.
Combining the research of Bourdieu and Damisch on the “structure as representation,” Louis Marin had noted, among others, in his De la représentation (1994, Paris: Seuil/Gallimard) that:
“Structured and structuring, produced and producing, the “cultural” dispositions constitute, between material structures and social practises, behavioral and representational schemas or matrices that function as authentic mediations in the materialist dialectic of society. […]”
“Thus the process through which pictorial practice is developed, structured by the habitus of representation, in a purely symbolic activity misrecognizing both its character as practise and its material conditions of possibility, is the consequence or the effect of that process of mutation through which economic structures become autonomous.”
However, Marin’s starting point could be traced back to the reading of Foucault’s Cours de linguistique générale; to the best of my understanding, for the gap between sign and signifier / or the “real-world object.” One may also discuss on the relation between Marin and Roman Jakobson. Yet, if this schism, between material and representation (as meaning), exists, indeed, the problem, once again, remains to be sought in between. The poles of materiality and meaning are thus being constructed. How are these two poles being connected and under which mechanisms? Can we discover anew instances in history, where a change in the material-ity of an artwork generated an alteration also in its meaning – whether in its original setting and context, or not? This change in material could be made possible through natural causes or by human integration via restoration or conservation.
Furthermore, following this distinction between material and representation / meaning, if we are to approach them as separate beings in an artwork, there is, once again, a latent, in the epistemological sphere, distinction between theoretical discourse and practical application in art history.
Papers submitted must contain a minimum of 3,000 words. Authors are responsible for securing high-quality digital images and securing rights to reproduce them digitally. Additional author guidelines and editorial procedures can be found here: http://www.arths.org.uk/about/journal/author-s-guidelines
 Louis Marin, On Representation, translated by Catherine Porter (2001), Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, p. 26.