Real Spaces

Real Spaces

David Summers


Phaidon Press









As a starting point, the author argues that formalist, contextual and post-structural approaches fail to provide an adequate account of all art, particularly art produced outside the Western tradition. He believes therefore that there are profound problems right at the heart of Western thinking about art, and his new framework is an attempt to resolve these problems. At the core of the argument is a proposal to replace the notion of the "visual arts" with that of the "spatial arts", comprising two fundamental categories: "real space" and "virtual space". Real space is the space we share with other people and things, and the fundamental arts of real space are sculpture, the art of personal space, and architecture, the art of social space. Virtual space, which always entails a format in real space (thus making real space the primary category), is space represented in two dimensions, as in paintings, drawings and prints. Adopting a wide definition of art that in principle embraces anything that is made, and underpinning his arguments with detailed examination of artifacts and architecture from all over the world, David Summers develops his thesis in a series of chapters that broadly trace the progress of human skill in many different traditions from the simple facture of the first tools to the sophisticated universal three-dimensional grid of modern technology, which he describes as "metaoptical" space. In wide-ranging and revealing discussions of facture, places, centres, three-dimensional and planar images, virtuality and perspective, and the centreless metaoptical world of Western modernism, he creates a conceptual framework that always relates art to human use, and enables us to treat all traditions on an equal footing within broad and universal categories. At the same time this framework can help to accommodate and understand opposition and conflict both within and between cultures.

David Summers is the William R. Kenan Jr Professor of the History of Art at the University of Virginia. He is the author of two major, groundbreaking studies, Michelangelo and the Language of Art (Princeton, 1981) and The Judgment of Sense: Renaissance Naturalism and the Rise of Aesthetics (Cambridge UP, 1987). Since 1987 his chief scholarly preoccupation has been the project t...

拥有构建跨文化艺术史理论的勃勃雄心和傲人的体积,更加看重在aesthetic之前facture的过程以及艺术品最初的real space。从词源入手解释概念从而将英语词汇陌生化,以及选择各类例子的考虑都很让人敬佩。另外据听过Summers讲课的同学反映,在写这本书的前后他都木有在课上用过书中的概念,所以写这本书是为了祸害外人嘛=。=其实我想说的是我终于摆脱这本凶器了!
James Elkins: "the epistemological violence".
萨默斯创造出一个适用于更广泛的世界的艺术史框架,因为已有的符号学和情景主义的方法已经不能适用于我们面对的整个艺术史视野,尤其是西方传统之外的艺术。他使用的工具同样是空间。在他的理论框架里,空间被分为两种:1. 真实空间,指的是我们与他人和事物共享的空间;2.虚拟空间,指那些我们通过「在二维空间中看到三维空间的能力」所能感受的空间。依据这样的分类,艺术史中的全部事件,就都不过是在这两个空间中的往返行动。他的学说至今遭受诸多诟病,很显然,他所使用那些用以建立理论的词汇与术语,几乎全部都是来自西方的思想史。但难道我们不应该反过来想吗?去想一想,为何他会选择空间来作为构建理论的基础呢?难道不是因为「空间」、或者说对于「空间」的讨论拥有这样的承载能力吗?
Summers通过建构spatial art的概念,批判了以西方理性、现代、资本秩序为核心的visual art。把艺术作品看作人类共同的corporal conditions和非常不共同的“second nature”共同作用产物,艺术因而既是可以互通的,又需要多元化的评价标准。本质上对文化产品social life的研究都多少令人觉得比较可爱,充满了考古的乐趣,有没有回应后殖民主义的那些这这那那的质疑倒是在其次。