In concluding Picture Theory
WJT Mitchell raises the issue of representation
and what lies beyond it. This picture
by casually, krystina
is not just a representation of reflections in a window--it points, or refers, to what lies beyond this particular representation. It suggests that something lies beyond this object (a picture) that seems to stand before us, a thing standing for something else. The "something else", as suggested by the light in the background, is some form of transcendence.
There is a tradition that makes a distinction between visual representation and what is represented. However Mitchell also mentions the aesthetic tradition that holds there is nothing outside representation. Is this picture a way of emphasizing the unpresentable?
Are there different visual ways of allowing the unpresentable to be put forward?
Mitchell says that this is the tradition of the aesthetic sublime, which posits a realm of a negation, of radical otherness
, and unknowability. The sublime located in pain, death transcendence and the unknowable, is precisely the unrepresentable.
If representation is understood in terms of patchwork quilt
that is torn, folded, wrinkled, covered with accidental stances and
traces of the bodies it has enfolded--which is what Mitchell
suggests--- then what lies "beyond representation" now lies within it
as a blackhole or along its margins.