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Title: Aura, craft and labour : the critical dialogue between photography and painting
Author: Yarnold, Andrew
ISNI:       0000 0004 2674 2168
Awarding Body: University of Wolverhampton
Current Institution: University of Wolverhampton
Date of Award: 2009
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From the closing decades of the twentieth century, the philosophy of Walter Benjamin has been readily employed by academics seeking to legitimate lens-based art as critical practice and challenge the ideals of high modernism. Yet this situation has engendered a compulsion to read Benjamin as a harbinger of post-modernism, a tendency responsible for severe miss-interpretations of his work. This is most evident in accounts of arguably his most famous thesis: the philosophy of the aura. For scholars aiming to renounce autonomy, originality and genius in artistic labour, Benjamin’s reading of the aura’s decline has become a weapon of choice. However, although the auratic holds immediate significance for creative practice, what is often overlooked by invocations of Benjamin’s study is the fact that the aura does not describe a material or phenomenal quality that objects may or may not possess. On the contrary, the aura is a form of perceptual experience, a sensation analogous to reverie or contemplation. It is in response to claims that Benjamin’s thesis has been misconstrued that Aura, Craft and Labour is conceived. My dissertation sets out to re-stage the critical study of the auratic and thus revivify the philosophical, political and psychological motifs at play in Benjamin’s work. But to achieve this I do not intend to bypass subjects of artistic production and aesthetics. Rather, I aim to explore the sensory and experiential matrix of the auratic against the context of a critical dialogue between photography and painting, thereby identifying how an assessment of the breaks and ruptures that mark revolutions in creative practice can illuminate our insight into the aura debate.
Supervisor: Roberts, John ; Fraser, John Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Aura ; Craft ; Labour ; Photography ; Painting