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On the Origin(s) of Truth in Art: Merleau-Ponty, Klee, and Cézanne

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image of Research in Phenomenology

AbstractBeginning from Klee’s statement on truth in self-portraiture that his faces are truer than real ones and Cézanne’s promise to tell us the truth in painting, we consider the origins of truth in art for the philosophy of Merleau-Ponty. We discover that truth in perception, in life, and incarnate existence, as in art, originates from bodily movement. Similar to Heidegger’s argument in “The Origin of the Work of Art,” a truth happens between the work and painter, between the work and viewer, and is not limited to the domain of language, but words and symbols mix together with colors and forms, as in the paintings of Klee. Similar to Husserl’s argument in “The Origin of Geometry,” the originary sense of art, like geometry, is an interweaving (Verflechtung) of world, intersubjectivity, speech, and writing that achieves a more “militant” (powerful) truth than mere logical propositions. Truth is marked by its endurance, mobility, agility, subtlety, and depth. These interweavings mean there is no single origin of truth in art and life but a plurality of origins in movement, pleasures, and desires for the becoming of creation.

Affiliations: 1: University of Rhode Island Kingston, RI 02881USA


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