Éric Alliez

Éric Alliez is a philosopher and Professor at Université Paris 8 and at the Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy at Kingston University, London. He is the author of Capital Times, The Signature of the World: Or, What is Deleuze and Guattari's Philosophy?, The Brain-Eye: New Histories of Modern Painting, and Wars and Capital, with Maurizio Lazzarato (Semiotext(e), and editor of The Guattari Effect, with Andrew Goffey, and Spheres of Action: Art and Politics, with Peter Osborne (MIT Press).

  • Becoming-Matisse

    Between Painting and Architecture (Undoing the Image 2)

    Éric Alliez

    A reevaluation of Matisse that reveals the complex function of his work and thought in contemporary art's escape from the image, from traditional forms of art, and even from the art form itself.

    Accused by his contemporaries of both arid overtheorisation and a hedonistic abandon to the pleasures of color, decried for a preoccupation with the merely decorative, retrospectively consigned to a subsidiary role in an official History of Art that sees the liberation of color from iconic conventions and symbolic associations as the inevitable precursor to the purified color of modernist formalis, Matisse, with his untimely singularity, his break with the History of Art, and the part he played in undoing the image is ripe for the reevaluation undertaken here with great panache by Éric Alliez and Jean-Claude Bonne, who with this volume restore Matisse to his place within the prehistory of contemporary art, while continuing to transform our understanding of the latter.

    It was Matisse who, with his understanding of the construction of colours as a means of vital expression, continued to exacerbate the fauves' decisive break with Form; in doing so, he also opened up painting to its outside, by cutting out color, and releasing it onto the walls and into architecture by way of a decorativity virtually generalized to the whole environment.

    With a series of detailed and compelling extended analyses of Matisse's works, we learn how “Matisse-thought” arrived at the magic formula expression=construction=decoration. This volume, the second “case study” in Alliez and Bonne's Undoing the Image, gives us a new Matisse extracted from clichés and stereotypes both popular and learned, revealing the complex function of his work and thought in contemporary art's escape from the image, from traditional forms of art, and even from the art form itself.

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  • Wars and Capital

    Wars and Capital

    Éric Alliez and Maurizio Lazzarato

    A critique of capital through the lens of war, and a critique of war through the lens of the revolution of 1968.

    “We are at war,” declared the President of the French Republic on the evening of November 13, 2015. But what is this war, exactly?

    In Wars and Capital, Éric Alliez and Maurizio Lazzarato propose a counter-history of capitalism to recover the reality of the wars that are inflicted on us and denied to us. We experience not the ideal war of philosophers, but wars of class, race, sex, and gender; wars of civilization and the environment; wars of subjectivity that are raging within populations and that constitute the secret motor of liberal governmentality. By naming the enemy (refugees, migrants, Muslims), the new fascisms establish their hegemony on the processes of political subjectivation by reducing them to racist, sexist, and xenophobic slogans, fanning the flames of war among the poor and maintaining the total war philosophy of neoliberalism.

    Because war and fascism are the repressed elements of post-'68 thought, Alliez and Lazzarato not only read the history of capital through war but also read war itself through the strange revolution of '68, which made possible the passage from war in the singular to a plurality of wars—and from wars to the construction of new war machines against contemporary financialization. It is a question of pushing “'68 thought” beyond its own limits and redirecting it towards a new pragmatics of struggle linked to the continuous war of capital. It is especially important for us to prepare ourselves for the battles we will have to fight if we do not want to be always defeated.

  • Body without Organs, Body without Image

    Ernesto Neto's Anti-Leviathan (Undoing the Image 1)

    Éric Alliez

    A close analysis of the work of Brazilian artist Ernesto Neto reveals the fundamental stakes of a contemporary art in the process of undoing the image-form.

    The first volume of Éric Alliez and Jean-Claude Bonne's major work on contemporary art begins by outlining their exploratory and speculative project: not so much to produce a new “philosophy of art” as to enter into a space in-between philosophy and art—between a contemporary philosophy of contemporary art and an art contemporary with contemporary philosophy.

    But what exactly is the “contemporary”? And how can we make ourselves, philosophically, the contemporaries of works whose problematic nature no longer sits well under the categories of the “aesthetic,” inherited from romanticism?

    In these case-studies of an art-thought that is inseparable from the continued construction of the very concept of a “contemporary art,” philosophical analysis is continually displaced by the forces of works and practices of creation and reception that herald a new—processual and post-conceptual—configuration of art, with Matisse and Duchamp—Matisse-thought and Duchamp-thought—establishing a tension that, since the 1960s, has been “recharged” by the micropolitical options which have given rise to the critical and clinical problematisation of art.

    Moving through and beyond the thought of Deleuze and Guattari, the discovery of a diagrammatic regime of the contemporary synonymous with an undoing of the image of the aesthetic regime of art begins here with the work of Brazilian artist Ernesto Neto, as a close analysis of the diagrammatic forces at work in Leviathan Thot, Neto's major 2006 intervention in the Panthéon de la république, reveals the fundamental stakes of a contemporary art in the process of undoing the image-form.

    Neto's “anarchitectural denunciation” takes on the (Hobbesian) metaphysical enunciation of the Leviathan-state, which his monstrous “counter-installation” recalls and reproblematizes by placing all of the Panthéon's physical and metaphysical coordinates into and under tension. Grappling with this foreign body both critically and clinically, Alliez and Bonne reveal how the “Neto Operation” engages with nothing less than the image of power in its relation to the power of the image that animates it and endows it with a discursive existence.

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  • Spheres of Action

    Spheres of Action

    Art and Politics

    Éric Alliez and Peter Osborne

    A snapshot of current debates about the relationship of politics to contemporary art, with original writings by major European thinkers.

    Contemporary art is increasingly part of a wider network of cultural practices, related through a common set of references in cultural theory. Within Europe, relations between national theoretical traditions have become more fluid and dynamic, creating an increasingly transnational—or postnational—space for European cultural and art theory. This book offers a snapshot of recent influential work in contemporary art and political theory in France, Italy, and Germany, in the form of original writings by major representatives of each of the three overlapping national traditions.

    In France, debates center on the status and possibilities of the image. Éric Alliez, Georges Didi-Huberman, Elisabeth Lebovici, and Jacques Rancière each adopt a distinctive approach to the making, undoing, and remaking of aesthetic images in contemporary art and their political significance. From Italy, Antonio Negri, Maurizio Lazzarato, Judith Revel, and Franco Berardi each address the “immaterial” situation of contemporary art. From Germany, Peter Sloterdijk, Peter Weibel, and Boris Groys reassess the contemporary legacy of postwar art, demonstrating appropriations of vitalism, structuralism, and deconstruction, respectively.

Contributor

  • Autonomia, New Edition

    Autonomia, New Edition

    Post-Political Politics

    Sylvère Lotringer and Christian Marazzi

    The only first-hand document and contemporaneous analysis of the most innovative post-'68 radical movement in the West, the creative, futuristic, neo-anarchistic, postideological Autonomia.

    Most of the writers who contributed to the issue were locked up at the time in Italian jails.... I was trying to draw the attention of the American Left, which still believed in Eurocommunism, to the fate of Autonomia. The survival of the last politically creative movement in the West was at stake, but no one in the United States seemed to realize that, or be willing to listen. Put together as events in Italy were unfolding, the Autonomia issue—which has no equivalent in Italy, or anywhere for that matter—arrived too late, but it remains an energizing account of a movement that disappeared without bearing a trace, but with a big future still ahead of it.—Sylvère LotringerSemiotext(e) is reissuing in book form its legendary magazine issue Italy: Autonomia: Post-Political Politics, originally published in New York in 1980. Edited by Sylvère Lotringer and Christian Marazzi with the direct participation of the main leaders and theorists of the Autonomist movement (including Antonio Negri, Mario Tronti, Franco Piperno, Oreste Scalzone, Paolo Virno, Sergio Bologna, and Franco Berardi), this volume is the only first-hand document and contemporaneous analysis that exists of the most innovative post-'68 radical movement in the West. The movement itself was broken when Autonomia members were falsely accused of (and prosecuted for) being the intellectual masterminds of the Red Brigades; but even after the end of Autonomia, this book remains a crucial testimony of the way this creative, futuristic, neo-anarchistic, postideological, and nonrepresentative political movement of young workers and intellectuals anticipated issues that are now confronting us in the wake of Empire. In the next two years, Semiotext(e) will publish eight books by such Italian “Post-Fordist” intellectuals as Antonio Negri, Christian Marazzi, Paolo Virno, and Bifo, as they update the theories of Autonomia for the new century.

    Sylvère Lotringer, general editor of Semiotext(e), lives in New York and Baja California. He is the author of Overexposed: Perverting Perversions (Semiotext(e), 2007). Christian Marazzi, an Italian economist, lives in Switzerland. He is the author of Capital and Language: From the New Economy to the War Economy and Sock's Place, both forthcoming from Semiotext(e).

  • Collapse, Volume 3

    Unknown Deleuze

    Robin Mackay

    Explorations of Deleuze's work by pioneering thinkers from philosophy, aesthetics, music, and architecture.

    A collection of explorations of the work of Gilles Deleuze by pioneering thinkers in the fields of philosophy, aesthetics, music, and architecture. The volume also includes a previously untranslated early text by Deleuze and a short interview, along with a fascinating piece of vintage science fiction from one of his more obscure influences.

    The contributors to this volume aim to clarify, from a variety of perspectives, Deleuze's contribution to philosophy: in what does his philosophical originality lie; what does he appropriate from other philosophers and how does he transform it? And how can the apparently disparate threads of his work to be “integrated”—What is the precise nature of the constellation of the aesthetic, the conceptual and the political proposed by Gilles Deleuze, and what are the overarching problems in which the numerous philosophical concepts “signed Deleuze” converge?

    As an annex to the second volume of Collapse, this volume also include a full transcript of the workshop on “Speculative Realism” held in London in 2007.

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