Michel Foucault: Manet and the Object of Painting (1971–) [FR, ES, EN, RU]

24 February 2014, dusan

“In this encounter between one of the 20th century’s greatest minds and an artist fundamental to the development of modern art, Michel Foucault explores Edouard Manet’s importance in the overthrow of traditional values in painting.

Originally delivered in Tunis in 1971 as part of a conference on Manet and here translated into English for the first time, this powerful critique takes the form of a commentary on 13 of Manet’s paintings. For the political-minded philosopher, the connection between visual art and power was clear: art is not an aesthetic pursuit, but a means to explore and challenge power dynamics. A precursor to Foucault’s later work on le regard, or the gaze, the text examines paintings like Un Bar aux Folies-Bergere, where Manet used the mirror to imply the multiple gaze of the waitress, the viewer, and the man at the bar, who may or may not be the artist himself. Foucault used Manet as a basis for a wider exploration of culture.”

English edition
Translated by Matthew Barr
With an Introduction by Nicolas Bourriaud
Publisher Tate, London, 2009
ISBN 1854378457, 9781854378453
80 pages

Commentary: James Polchin (The New Inquiry, 2011)
Bruno-Nassim Aboudrar (Critique d’art, 2004, FR).
Review: John Elias Nale (Foucault Studies, 2005).

Publisher (FR)
Publisher (EN)

Le noir et la surface & La peinture de Manet (French, manuscript with transcription, from Cahiers de L’Herne, 2011, pp 378-395 & 396-409). Audio excerpt (both links updated on 2021-2-3)
La pintura de Manet (Spanish, trans. Roser Vilagrassa, 2005)
Manet and the Object of Painting (English, trans. Matthew Barr, 2009, updated on 2021-2-3)
Zhivopis Mane (Russian, trans. A.V. Dyakov, 2011, added on 2014-6-6)

See also Georges Bataille: Manet: Biographical and Critical Study, 1955.

3 Responses to “Michel Foucault: Manet and the Object of Painting (1971–) [FR, ES, EN, RU]”

  1. Art & Pancakes, March 2nd, 2014 | Bay Area Art Grind on March 2, 2014 9:00 am

    […] Michel Foucault: Manet and the Object of Painting (1971–) [FR, ES, EN] [link] […]

  2. Oulipo on February 3, 2021 1:39 pm

    The links to the English and the Russian versions seem to be out of date.

  3. dusan on February 3, 2021 7:18 pm


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