Erik Alliez: Spectres of Seurat (Or, Seurat versus Duchamp)


The FORART Lecture 2007 was given by Erik Alliez, Professor of Contemporary French Philosophy at the Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy at Middlesex University, London.

To interrogate that which in modern art does not belong to pictorial modernism but, on the contrary, might, by way of a thinking of forces rather than of forms, provide material for an archeaology of contemporary art – a contemporaneity for which, in my view, Matisse and Duchamp constitute the two points of entry and the fundamental paradigms – such is among the basic contentions of this research project, which comprises two published parts: La Pensée-Matisse; and L’Oeil-Cerveau, subtitled New Histories of Modern Painting (2007). This research is currently being developed via a more direct confrontation with Duchamp’s work, as well as with those modalities in accordance with which the latter was able to deploy and radicalize an ‘extreme modernity’ aimed at undoing what Jean-Claude Bonne and I have called ‘the image-form and the aesthetic-form of art.

Éric Alliez, is a philosopher, former Research Fellow at the Collège International de Philosophie, Paris (1984-1987 / 1992-1998); former professor at the Akademie der Bildenden Kuenste, Vienna, (1997-2003), where he held the Chair in Aesthetics; and he has been a visiting professor at the Hochschule für Gestaltung, Karlsruhe (2003-2005). He is currently Professor of Contemporary French Philosophy at the Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy at Middlesex University, London.

Among his works are: Les Temps capitaux (preface by G. Deleuze), T.I, Récits de la conquête du temps (Paris: Cerf, 1991); T. II, La Capitale du temps, Vol. 1 : L’Etat des choses (Paris: Cerf, 1999);. Further published works include La Signature du monde, ou Qu’est-ce que la philosophie de Deleuze et Guattari? (Paris: Cerf, 1993); De l’impossibilité de la phénoménologie. Sur la philosophie française contemporaine (Paris: Vrin, 1995); Gilles Deleuze. Une Vie philosophique (editor) (Paris: Synthélabo, 1998); Konzeptionen der Zeit im Ausgehenden Mittelalter (ed., in collaboration with G. Schröder) (Munich: Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 1999); Telenoia. Kritik der virtuellen Bilder (ed., in collaboration with E. Samsonow) (Vienna: Turia + Kant, 1999); Hyperplastik. Kunst und Konzepte der Wahrnemung in Zeiten der Mental Imagery (ed., with E. Samsonow) (Vienne: Turia + Kant, 2000); Chroma. Widerstand der Farbe (ed., with E. Samsonow) (Vienna: Turia + Kant, 2001) ; Biographien des Organlosen Körpers, (ed., with E. Samsonow), Vienne, Turia + Kant, 2003; La Pensée-Matisse (with J.-Cl. Bonne) (Paris, Le Passage, 2005); and L’Œil-Cerveau. Nouvelles Histoires de la peinture moderne (in collaboration with Jean-Clet Martin) (Paris: Vrin, 2007). Alliez is the general editor of Œuvres de Gabriel Tarde (Paris: Les Empêcheurs de penser en rond/ Seuil [13 volumes published]), and is a founding member of the editorial board of the journal Multitudes.

Forart Lecture 2007, press release