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The History of Art as History of Repetition?: Some Deleuzian Questions Towards Thierry Davila’s Theory of Repetition

  • Journal of Humanities, Seoul National University
  • 2019, 76(3), pp.435-468
  • DOI : 10.17326/jhsnu.76.3.201908.435
  • Publisher : Institute of Humanities, Seoul National University
  • Research Area : Humanities > Other Humanities
  • Received : July 5, 2019
  • Accepted : August 11, 2019
  • Published : August 31, 2019

Jimin Son 1

1Institut Catholique de Paris

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This article aims to analyze, examine and show the importance of a thesis put forward by the Swiss philosopher and art-historian Thierry Davila, which views the history of art as history of repetition. Davila’s constant reference to the Duchampian concept of “inframince” and Deleuze, especially his Difference and Repetition, is channelled towards his eventual argument: repetition is always a return with and towards difference and that difference is both essential and generic in the forming of the work of art. While the scope of his theory of repetition remains within Deleuze’s framework, it omits the discussion on the notion of force and intensity and the three levels of repetition — superficial, profound and ultimate — crucial in Deleuze’s philosophy of difference. This omission coincides with the self-contradictory use of the term repetition to describe those such as imitation and mimesis, where the latter in Deleuze’s philosophy enters in a dialectical entanglement with repetitions occurring at a deeper ontological level. At the same time, the importance of Davila’s work can be found in his advocacy of the principle of selection or casuistic method placing differentiating repetition at the very core of the ontology of the work of art and art-historical research.

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