Representatie en zintuiglijkheid | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 107, Issue 4
  • ISSN: 0002-5275
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1244



If representation means making something present again, what is its relationship to sensibility, especially in art? Could the work of art represent our sensory inputs, or does such representation always fall short of the adequate re-presentation of the sensory? The debate on representation and sensibility has been reopened within a new framework with Rancière’s distinction between three historical regimes of art. This article sets out by casting doubt on Rancière’s assumption that representation could be reduced to one of these three regimes. Secondly, discussion turns to Rancière’s criticism of Lyotard’s notion of unrepresentability, particularly with regard to ‘Auschwitz’. Thirdly, the question is put why these two authors have such different readings of Kant’s aesthetics: Rancière’s choice for beauty is actually a choice for representation, whereas to Lyotard, the unrepresentable sublime creates the space for the event in our sensibility. Finally, it is shown that Rancière, though acknowledging a tension between ‘spirit’ and ‘letter’, ignores the meaning of avant-garde art, whereas Lyotard distrusts realistic, representative art.


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