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Dialectical narcissism in the visual art of modernity

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Dialectical narcissism in the visual art of modernity

Giesbrecht, Harvey Vincent (2005) Dialectical narcissism in the visual art of modernity. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

Modernist art and contemporary body and performance art seem radically different in their basic motivational structure, in their reception, in their contents, and in the theoretical discourse that they engender. Modernism is conventionally seen as a response to modernity that enhanced the unique aesthetic qualities of visual art, and because of that disposition, was frequently in opposition to the main thrust of both institutional academic art as well as developing modern society. This opposition was characteristically manifested as the avant-garde, a direction that progressively denigrated representational functions of art. Body and performance art, and other postmodern strategies brought back representation, especially of the body, with a stunning directness, eroticism, and frequently sadomasochistic performative challenges to the canon and modernist aesthetics. This thesis argues that narcissism as a drive operates dialectically within both these major trends as a fundamental unifying motivating force. The theme of narcissism is developed in psychoanalytic terms, not as character pathology of artists, but as a core idealizing drive central to the visual creative realm. The narcissistic drive imparts its qualities also to visuality itself, as a force underpinning scopic regimes. The idealizing effects of the drive assert themselves, paradoxically, also in recent developments such as "relational" art.

Divisions:Concordia University > School of Graduate Studies
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Giesbrecht, Harvey Vincent
Pagination:[vi], 317 leaves, 16 leaves of plates : ill. (some col.) ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Program:School of Graduate Studies
Date:2005
Thesis Supervisor(s):Lefebvre, Martin
ID Code:8895
Deposited By:Concordia University Libraries
Deposited On:18 Aug 2011 14:38
Last Modified:18 Aug 2011 14:38
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