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Title: The artist as a multifarious agent : an artist's theory of the origin of meaning.
Author: Francis, Mary Anne.
ISNI:       0000 0001 2413 7093
Awarding Body: Goldsmiths College (University of London)
Current Institution: Goldsmiths College (University of London)
Date of Award: 2000
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This thesis is presented as a written text and an exhibition. 1 Both parts result from interdisciplinary research in writing and visual art. Its problematic is the origin of meaning as addressed by recent textual theory, and how that represents an artist's experience of this. Here, 'recent theory' designates 'postmodernism', which includes 'poststructuralism' and refers, too, to 'modernism'. This is reviewed and compared to an artist's experience, using my empirical encounter with art, as an artist, as a possible example. As the comparison occurs in writing and visual art, the latter is, at once, the research data, and a site of its investigation. And writing is a site for exploring art practice (via a case study), and the source for further art. Finding that an artist experiences the origin of meaning as far more multifarious than it appears in recent theory, the comparison additionally proposes a role for the expressive self in art's meaning, in contradistinction to much of postmodernist theory. The typicality of an artist is discussed via a deconstructive notion of exemplarity. And Derrida's deconstruction, which explores diverse features of the textual process, infonns the theoretical method throughout. However, it is not just an artist's experience that proposes a critique of postmodernism's version of the origin of meaning. This is proposed, too, via Richard Rorty's pragmatism, when that opposes 'realism' (which includes empiricism) and idealism (which includes deconstruction). This thesis concludes that it is useful (in Rorty's sense) for the artist to believe in a multifarious agency including the expressive self - experience notwithstanding. In moving from postmodernism's notion of the origin of meaning to the artist's, and beyond, to pragmatism's, this thesis attempts to recognise its reflexive dimension. So its voice (as the ambiguous index of its origins) diversifies postmodernism's voice, tending towards a cacophony, without abandoning a conclusion.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Postmodernism; Poststructuralism; Modernism