Representing the Real

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review


This study offers a new perspective on the object represented by art, specifically by art that succeeds to create in its receiver a sense of "the real", a sense of approximating the true nature of the represented object that lies outside the artwork. The object that cannot be accessed through a concept, a meaning or a sign, the thing-in-itself, is generally rejected by philosophy as being outside the realm of its concerns. This rejection is surveyed in a number of philosophical discussions, from Kant to Hilary Putnam. Turning to the psychoanalytic object, an object inexhaustible in terms of its external existence, or in terms of its conceptual status or meaning (the object is always suppressed, partly known, inaccessible), another notion of the object. The Real is suggested as what can neither be contained in language nor reduced to a linguistic referent. This solution does not lead away from philosophical interests but rather exposes this dilemma about the object of representation as fundamentally philosophical. Cases of artistic realism discussed range from perspective painting to abstract art, from tragedies to the literary representation of minds.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
PublisherEditions Rodopi B.V.
Number of pages205
ISBN (Electronic)9004494995
ISBN (Print)9789042009738
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2002

Publication series

Name Psychoanalyse en cultuur ; 011;


  • literary theory and criticism
  • psychoanalytic literary theory and criticism
  • the real
  • representation

ULI Keywords

  • uli
  • Perception
  • Postmodernism
  • Realism in art
  • Realism in literature
  • Reality in art
  • Representation (Philosophy)
  • Representation (Psychoanalysis)
  • Supraliminal perception
  • Post-modernism
  • Postmodernism (Philosophy)
  • Neorealism (Literature)
  • Representationalism (Philosophy)
  • Representationism (Philosophy)


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