By Derek Allan
André Malraux was once a massive determine in French highbrow existence within the 20th century. A key component to his notion is his thought of paintings which offers a sequence of basic demanding situations to standard causes of the character and function of paintings constructed via post-Enlightenment aesthetics. For Malraux, artwork - no matter if visible paintings, literature or song - is far greater than a locus of attractiveness or a resource of "aesthetic pleasure"; it's one of many methods humanity defends itself opposed to its primary feel of meaninglessness - one of many methods the "human adventure" is affirmed. the following for the 1st time is a entire, step-by-step exposition, supported through illustrations, of Malraux's thought of artwork as provided in significant works akin to The Voices of Silence and The Metamorphosis of the Gods. appropriate for either beginners to Malraux and extra complex scholars, the learn additionally examines serious responses to those works via figures resembling Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Maurice Blanchot, Pierre Bourdieu, and E. H. Gombrich, and compares Malraux's considering with facets of up to date Anglo-American aesthetics. The examine finds that an account of artwork which Gombrich as soon as disregarded as "sophisticated double-talk" is in fact a completely coherent and hugely enlightening process of idea, with innovative implications for a way we predict approximately paintings.
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Additional resources for Art and the Human Adventure: André Malraux's Theory of Art (Faux Titre, Volume 341)
This is not the place for an extended discussion of Tchen,35 but his significance for present purposes is clear. The “man of action”, the new human type of Malraux’s first three novels, may certainly build order out of chaos (no small achievement, after all, in a world “dominated by the idea of being unable to grasp a reality of any kind”); but the meaning he discovers will always be inseparable from the particular enterprise – such as the revolutionary movement – in which he acts. Collective action can give him a sense of belonging to a particular shared endeavour, but it will never unite him with all men and women at all times – with a larger entity called humanity, or “man”.
As we have noted, Malraux writes in the Antimémoires that this experience was one that he “tried to express a number of times” and before examining its implications more closely, it will be useful to consider one further example. In this instance, the “return to the earth” occurs one night in 1940 during World War II after a French tank attack on German lines. In its fictional form in Les Noyers de l’Altenburg, the narrator is Berger, a member of a tank crew who is one of the novel’s main characters.
Portrayed – significantly – as someone who received a religious education but who has subsequently lost his faith,34 Tchen is unable to rest content with a reality bounded by the limits of the particular collective event of which he is a part, thirsting instead for the meaning of life as an all-embracing unity. Action in his case is no longer called upon simply to illuminate the sense and purpose of what a specific group of men and women are doing in a particular context but to reveal what all men and women are doing “in the world” – their very reason for being.
Art and the Human Adventure: André Malraux's Theory of Art (Faux Titre, Volume 341) by Derek Allan