The edge of perception: Gordon Matta-Clark’s hermeneutic of place and the possibilities of absence for the theological imagination

Charles M. Howell*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This article places the conceptual artist Gordon Matta-Clark in conversation with hermeneutical debates within the field of theological aesthetics. By exploring the transformative effect Matta-Clark’s Splitting evokes on spatially related categories, I argue that place is a locus of meaning, and that absence is a constitutive feature of that meaning. The hermeneutics at play in Matta-Clark have a set of formal features which is in accord with certain positions within theological aesthetics, namely: the particularities of place over the generalities of space, the constitutive role of both absence and presence for perception, and the formative power of these on human identity. A final section argues that while meaning is embedded in place, the imagination retains a vital place in the hermeneutical process through its “imaging” function in events of perception.
Original languageEnglish
Article number920
Number of pages18
JournalReligions
Volume13
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sept 2022

Keywords

  • Gordon Matta-Clark
  • Theological aesthetics
  • Theology and the Arts
  • Conceptual art
  • Hermeneutics
  • Perception
  • Imagination
  • Place

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