Mark Tansey’s Derrida Queries de Man
Redfield examines Tansey’s iconic “theory paintings,” in particular the famous picture which depicts Derrida and de Man poised together in an “ambiguous dance-struggle” on a precarious precipice above an abyss that invokes visual representations of the Romantic sublime. As Redfield puts it, “the space-time of Derrida and de Man’s impossible encounter is that of a difficult, ambivalently agonistic act of reading.” Redfield demonstrates that Tansey’s painting is something much more than a “sign of the times,” not merely a hyper-realist representation of “theory in America” circa 1990.
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