list of works
no(CR) Eduardo Navas --navasse--



This website is based on two major quotes from Craig Owens' essay. The first is where he defines allegory in relationship to modernism:

In the name of 'justice,' then, and in order to preserve the intuitive character of every work of art, including the allegorical, allegory is conceived as a supplement, 'an expression externally added to another expression.' Here we recognize that permanent strategy of Western art theory which excludes from the work everything which challenges its determination as the unity of 'form' and 'content.' Conceived as something added or superadded to the work after the fact , allegory will consequently be detachable from it. In this way Modernism can recuperate allegorical works for itself, on the condition that what makes them allegorical be overlooked or ignored. Allegorical meaning does indeed appear supplementary; we can appreciate Bellini's Allegory of Fortune, for example, or read Pilgrim's Progress as Coleridge recommended, without regard for their iconographic significance. Rosemond Tuve describes the viewer's 'experience of a genre-picture - or so he had thought it -- turning into ... [an] allegory before his eyes, by something he learns (usually about the history and thence the deeper significance of the image). Allegory is extravagant, an expenditure of surplus value; it is always in excess. Croce found it 'monstrous' precisely because it encodes two contents within one form. Still, the allegorical supplement is not only an addition, but also a replacement. It takes the place of an earlier meaning, which is thereby either effaced or obscured. Because allegory usurps its object it comports within itself a danger, the possibility of perversion: that what is 'merely appended' to the work of art be mistaken for its 'essence.' Hence the vehemence with which modern aesthetics -- formalist aesthetics in particular -- rails against the allegorical supplement, for it challenges the security of the foundations upon which aesthetics is erected. [...] p.215

This part is used as the main interface of the net-project. The user can choose from the menu bar tabs which form the sentences through a total of 11 pages. When another term is chosen, a pop up window with a grid composition consisting of recombinations of sliced images appears. These images are pieces made by the artists cited in the essay.

The second major quote is in the last pop-up window when accessing page 11, here Owens describes allegory in postmodern terms:

Allegory can no longer be condemned as something merely appended to the work of art, for it is revealed as a structural possibility inherent in every work. In modernism, however, the allegory remains in potentia and is actualized only in the activity of reading, which suggests that the allegorical impulse that characterizes postmodernism is a direct consequence of its preoccupation with reading. p.222

This page was revised on 8/4/02.
Originally published on 5/31/02.

--Eduardo Navas



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