Resemblance, Doubt, and Ruin | esse arts + opinions

Resemblance, Doubt, and Ruin

85 - 2018

Research in cognitive science and the psychology of perception over the past fifty years confirms what this essay aims to demonstrate: that resemblance exists and constitutes one of the mechanisms for perceiving reality. Yet, this confirmation of common sense and these conclusions in the realms of psychology, biology, and cognitive science have been largely ignored or rejected by much of art history. For the past forty years, the discipline has witnessed a proliferation of discourses denying resemblance, including the attacks of relativism. This article reflects on the fear of resemblance in art history, and, more specifically, on the trauma caused by post-structuralism that made taboo any position confirming the semiotic specificity of the image.
[Translated from the French by Louise Ashcroft]

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