In 2001, the French philosopher and art historian Georges Didi-Huberman published the book Images malgré tout, where he creates the concept of not-all image. The confrontation of the author with the imperatives of totalizing positions had already taken place in his work, as in Confronting images: questioning the ends of a certain history of art, in which he diagnosed a situation in modern culture that he called the myth of the omnitranslatability of images, that is, the belief in a model of truth in which all the concepts could perfectly fit into images and all the images into concepts, in an integrally adjustable dialectical relation. In the work of 2001, the notion of non-totality was extracted explicitly from the work of the French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan, briefly mentioned in the book. For the philosopher, the image is not-all because it is crossed by a double regime, which means that there is always some element that becomes unnapprochable and unfathomable on the imaginary surface. His reference is the formulation of the concept of a woman not-all (femme pas toute) in Lacan’s Séminaire XX: encore. To circumscribe the problematic of this discussion, I propose to think in my research project the elaboration of the not-all (pas-tout) as a category to understand the images in the contemporary art. Although the notion of non-totality already appears in the first part of Didi-Huberman’s book, it is only in the second that it becomes definitive. If Lacan thinks the feminine as something that escapes the totalizing discourse ruled by the phallus, Didi-Huberman will conceive a concept of image as something always marked by the impossibility of being constituted into an integral whole. My research recover the idea of not-all (pas-toute) to think the feminine as a discursive way to analyze the images of contemporary art. I want to rebuild the concept of not-all in Lacanian Psychoanalysis and show how it opens a theoretical horizon to approach the concept of image in Didi-Huberman’s philosophical corpus, understanding contemporaneity as a privileged field in which this category achieves a decisive ethical meaning.
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