In this important new book the leading philosopher Jacques
Rancière continues his reflections on the representative power
of works of art. How does art render events that have spanned an
era? What roles does it assign to those who enacted them or those
who were the victims of such events?
Rancière considers these questions in relation to the works of
Claude Lanzmann, Goya, Manet, Kandinsky and Barnett Newman, among
others, and demonstrates that these issues are not only confined to
the spectator but have greater ramifications for the history of art
For Rancière, every image, in what it shows and what it
hides, says something about what it is permissible to show and what
must be hidden in any given place and time. Indeed the image, in
its act of showing and hiding, can reopen debates that the official
historical record had supposedly determined once and for all. He
argues that representing the past can imprison history, but it
can also liberate its true meaning.