Rivista di filosofia
Journal of Philosophy
ISSN 2420-9775
Anno III, N. 9
Online 25/10/2017
Mimesis Edizioni

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At Vision’s Crossroads.
Merleau-Ponty, Heidegger, and the Art of Kiki Smith
V. M. Fóti

The lateral inter-being of humanity with animality that Merleau-Ponty explores is also a key focus of Kiki Smith’s art. For Smith, such inter-being is not static but takes form within contingency. Play (linked to contingency) keeps art from mortifying life, while beauty (linked to play) allows, for Smith, what is rejected and excluded to enter into «another space of possibilility,» or of truth. For Heidegger, the art work in its truth excludes the mundane and domestic dimensions and ultimately negates both human and inter-species relationships. Smith’s art contests these negations (which are problematized in the context of Heidegger’s Nazi sympathies by Hermann Schmitz). Furthermore, Smith’s art also contests the contemporary art-theoretical emphasis on the irruptive event by stressing the continuity of «being here in the body,» or within the materiality and elementality of what Merleau-Ponty calls Flesh.

KEYWORDS: Kiki Smith, Merleau-Ponty, Heidegger, Animality, Art.

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