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UDC 32
E.A. Berezhnaya
Saint-Petersburg university
of the humanities and social sciences
Saint-Petersburg, Russia
[Динамика телесных образов: проекция культуры в искусстве]
In the article the author reveals the problem of the evolution of corporeal images in culture and considers the representation of these images have been being materialized in the art ideal in the XX and XXI centuries. The consideration of body not as biological but as a cultural and technological phenomenon gives the opportunity to mark out the
particular attitude to body which is reflected in the modern art. Analyzing a number of art-expert, culturological and
philosophical approaches, the author discovers the "cultural body" concept and its particular role in the era art ideal
formatation. The special attention is paid to the new cultural paradigm as a generator of the fundamentally different
attitude to body. Above it, the plastic theatre as a special form of art reflecting the new corporeal image which is typical
for the XXI century is examined in the article. Using choreographic and theatre techniques of the XX century, the plastic theatre partially keeps the vanguard and modernist interpretation of body, but at the same time gives it the cognitive
function in the art context.
Key words: body, corporeality, corporeal expressiveness, representation, image of body, plastic expressiveness,
plastic theatre, art ideal.
The anthropological turn in the Humanities has given rise to the inclusion in the scope of
their comprehension of the phenomena is still not subjected to analytical analysis [4]. It is these
phenomena and relates the physicality unfolding conceptualization which is based on the idea that
the body is not only a biological organism.
In art representations of the body are reflected in the artistic ideal. In the twenty-first century
in connection with the rethinking of the body itself and the body-oriented approach in the cognitive
Sciences, a new artistic ideal, embodied in specific forms of art, have not been studied to date, but
reflecting actual ideas, as opposed to the culture of post-modernism.
In modern humanitarian approaches the body is often viewed as a cultural phenomenon,
based on social, and carries a number of special functions. This view relies on the features of development and formation of the person. In the process of socialization, the individual is forced to "assign" your own body, to understand its social context and to ascribe cultural meaning. According to
A. S. Kostova, it generates a "configuration "cultural body", a special circuit I, which does not coincide with the boundaries I outlined the natural barriers" [6, p. 88].
Culture transforms the idea of normative images of sex (gender) [3], leaves an indelible
mark on so-called "natural" physicality, changing its borders, dictating features. Culture imposes
the assessment of bodily States and enforce a taboo their part, defining the scope of "permitted" and
forbidden for the body.
"Cultural" physicality and reflected in art. The image of the body, prevailing in the mass
V. A. Podoroga notes that, as such, the images change very slowly, but their phenomenallysimulation, plastic, narrative and symbolic representation quickly and significantly change each
other [5, p. 67].
Art Historian T.E. Schechter wrote that "each era reveals new bodily sensations, a new modus understanding of your own body, depicting the culture, worldview, within which it evolved
bodily semantic and artistic concept" [7, p. 124]. An important quality of artistic creation in any era
was a specific relationship to the body as a resilient tongue carrying a special semantics of move-
ments, gestures, postures, expressive facial expressions. The body is able to convey very subtle psychological States and emotions through expression.
Exploring images of the body in art history, we find the unconditional dynamics, reflecting a
General change in the relationship to the body in cultural context. Ancient Greek art sees the body
as a harmonious part of the cosmos, emphasizing its natural beauty and connectedness of man to the
world. In the middle Ages in connection with the domination of Christianity and the formation of a
new relationship to the body the appearance of a man becomes a direct reflection of his spiritual
life. Moral values are embodied metaphorically in the image of man, turning it into an allegory. Renaissance translates the idea of the ethical value of a person, embodying it in the physical beauty.
The body is the quintessence of the sublime.
In the XVII – XVIII changes to the conception of man, his role and place in the world. In
Baroque, the person becomes a part of the world, and the body is perceived as a set of elements, reflecting the patterns of fate. The body in Baroque reflects the nature of the wild, lush, surrounded by
luxury. However, we are seeing a continuation of the change: on change to live life and have been
looking for the Baroque body gradually comes opposite the Rococo manner. People are becoming
more sophisticated, more refined, more sophisticated than. The body seemed to have transformed
into a thin, transparent, and delicate. It comes to the harmony of the ideal, with its fragility and vulnerability reminding porcelain dolls.
Then comes the era of classicism: classic body acquires harmony in strict forms and adjustment of
proportions, heights and ostentation. In painting and sculpture the body presents calm, rational, rational and level-headed. But then came romanticism represents a fundamentally different view of
the body, reflecting the uniqueness of the person, her inner conflict and ambiguity.
Body, merging with others, other people's bodies of people, animals, nature, transcends the
boundaries of its certainty. Internal psychologism makes plastic expressive way.
Realism as an art direction aims to more accurately depict the body in his everyday life. Realistic detailed physicality, social and gives an idea about the status, position in society. Another
aspect of physicality opens in the work of the Impressionists: it is treated as a perfectly blended into
the environment. The body is light, uninhibited, open, and almost transparent. It merges with the
landscape dissolves into the landscape.
For twentieth-century culture is characterized by a loss of interest in the body as a whole.
"The body ceases to be perceived as the bearer of valid meanings, it is no longer interested nor as an
independent plastic phenomenon, nor as a way of embodiment in art worldview of the age" [7, p.
132]. Avant-garde and modernism "overthrow" the body from the pedestal; it ceases to be the center
of the universe in the art.
The nature of the living human body becomes unattractive. The bodily part of being is understood as a passive product, the existence of which is only a consequence of the development of
society. The very materiality of the body is being questioned. "The character of the twentieth century – man, the victim, the man is absurd, "foreign" people, people in a boundary situation, on the
edge of the abyss; one is deprived of a strong and beautiful body" [7, p. 133].
The body of the twentieth century, more and more deformed, becomes weak and helpless. It
rejected longing, pain, fear, despair. The body is constantly exposed to violence, it is defenseless,
disfigured. There is neither mysticism nor harmonious beauty, perfect proportions. The body is broken. It attracts, fascinates, and loses all the functions that once were. It is part of the mass, the
crowd; it can be used as a bargaining chip or cannon fodder. The body is dead and ceases to exist in
First of all, the awareness of the "uselessness" of the human body is due to the series of tragic events that struck the twentieth century for his cruelty and abandonment of human nature. Two
large-scale wars, which used chemical and nuclear weapons, genocide, totalitarianism forced to see
the vulnerability and fragility of life of the individual and his body as a symbol of this life. To the
image of concentration camp prisoners often refer in their work the artists when creating installations. E. Chingola created a remarkable work "The state hospital" (1964-1966), in which people
were mannequins without faces and they were attached to metal beds. This picture is very similar to
documentary footage of concentration camps hospitals, where the exhausted, emaciated people exhibited helplessness, fragility of human bodies.
In the second half of the twentieth century attitude to the body is becoming more utilitarian.
It is perceived as plastic material, passive and pliable. The body is more and more immersed in the
virtual world, becoming a concept, wasting its materiality and thingness. The artists created the
work, where the body acts as a piece of furniture. Numerous manipulations with the body raise it to
the level of the object, household items, and consumption. A good example of this approach is pop
art, where the female and male body of plastic transform into chairs, hangers and other household
items, absolutely lifeless, empty and devoid of its true nature.
In specific light presents us with the body and hyperrealism, referring to naturalistic precision. Physicality appears to us in its diversity, but we also see some alienation from the body. It
shows us from the side, not from the point of view of the owner of this body, and from the point of
view of an observer.
At the turn of XX – XXI centuries in the culture are formed of different viewpoints on corporeality, which in turn gives rise to certain representative images.
V. V. Bychkov, describing precategory non-classical aesthetics, defines the concept of "corporeality" as something that is opposed to spirituality. Physicality becomes a way of rehabilitation
of sensuality. “The inclusion of it in the modern mental strategies, often sublimated, which ascended from a particular sensibility in the intelligible sphere, and often in the form of conventional sexuality, libidinal energy” [1, p.440]. In other words, the concept of "corporeality" and "sexuality" in
a post-modernist culture are synonymous. Contemporary art practice often exploits the erotic component of physicality for the purpose of rejecting cultural taboo, thereby limiting its banal sexual
instinct. The body is the instrument of rebellion against society, its norms and "old-fashioned" values.
In art today we can clearly feel on the one hand, a longing for the body, in his true nature,
his interpretation as part of the cosmos, on the other hand, the utility in relation to the body, its depreciation, skepticism and dismissal. Frequent becomes the theme of violence, sadism, masochism.
Art characters hurt themselves, or others, mistreat your body. G. L. Tulchinsky, illustrating this
trend, cites the example of the film M. van de "In my skin" (2002). In it the heroine cuts himself,
feeling the craving for his flesh and blood. Cut off pieces of it absorbs. The film tells about the desire of her character thus to know themselves, "the taste be assured of the reality of his body, to
bridge the gap between spirit and body" [8, p. 212].
Another shocking example is the exhibition of Professor G. von Hages, the author of the
technology of plastination. The exhibits are created from "canned" corpses. Dissected bodies are
artistic composition, and some of them even copy famous works of Salvador Dali and Michelangelo. It is planned to create a "Museum people", which will be a permanent collection of [8, p. 212].
There is an absolute "objectification" of the body; it cannot see even a trace of life, but the appeal
itself to the human body as artistic material gives an indication on how people need to give the body
a deeper meaning.
Artist P. Pavlensky in their performances actually uses the body, usually naked. In its stock
body mutilations that are metaphorical protest aimed at political realities. In the "Seam" (2012) P.
Pavlensky sewed his mouth a grim thread. In the "Carcass" (2013) – was rolled up in barbed wire.
In stock "Fixing" (2013) and "the Office" (2014) also have elements of damage: the first – artist
nailed his scrotum to the cobblestones of red square, the second cut off the earlobe. In this case the
body acts on one side as a means of artistic expression, and the other is total proof of man's alienation from their own bodily nature. This illustrates the detachment of the body, treating it as an object, which is peculiar to twentieth century art. Body, acquiring the metaphorical, loses its true nature.
Such divergent perceptions of the body due to the desire of mankind through renunciation
regain his physicality, materiality, reality and harmonious living. In this context become more and
more important ideas H.-W. Gumbrecht about the culture of presence [2], characterized by a specific relation to his own nature, naturalness, "neediest". To regain the body of the individual can only
rejecting his post-modernist perception. The attitude towards the body as part of outer space, to the
real thing, the culture of presence will provide sustainable returns to a normal existence, to the
body-subject is inextricably linked with the soul, the knower, for the living.
The body in the "culture of presence" has intrinsic meaning, allowing the individual to feel
your own existence. The world becomes for a man not "intelligible" and "attained by the body". The
act of knowledge is based on the active work of the human body as a single cognitive system.
Through this approach reveals the tangibility of the world, and the reality of his existence.
The implementation of the return to the body and the sense of reality being of the individual
is happening today through the revival of the humanistic relationship to the body contrary to the
avant-garde interpretations, but also through the understanding of the body not as an object but as a
unified system, "active cognitive organ, which plays a significant role in a person's life.
In the art of the late XX – early XXI centuries, a "rehabilitation" of the body was progressive. A unique attempt to defend the bodily becomes plastic theatre. This is a specific "transitional"
form of art in which intricately combines traditional twentieth interpretation of the body as fragile
substance, but it is absolutely real, tangible and real. Plastic theatre revives the expressiveness of the
body, its importance in the background of virtualization and information being to simulacra. In the
plastic performances of the body becomes the knower, revealing him and the world around us. It is
again beautiful, free and tangible.
The actor in the plastic theatre closes artistic image, as all the action on my own body. It becomes the center of focus of the image, which progressively set in motion. The body is also and art
space works, and the field of artistic experiment.
Use in the productions of modern dance genres, specific avant-garde forms of dance would
continue the tradition of the twentieth century in relation to the body. Sometimes it seems fragile,
helpless, "other", body-object, just material. However, the specifics of the creation of the artistic
image and its disclosure indicate a gradual formation of a relationship to the body.
In the plastic body of the actor is realized absolutely any character or object. The show itself
can be interpreted as a specific artistic act of cognition, based on bodily experience of the individual. The actor "lives" the objects of the world of a character in my own body, plastically expressing
them to the viewer, appealing to his own emotional-bodily experience. While the actor has no problem to create a piece, he just expresses his expressive the "feel" of the object reality.
In the art with the help of plastic theatre gradually formed a new relation to the body as a
natural and harmonious part of human nature. It ceases to be unimportant, helpless and rejected.
The body gains in cognitive function, in a new way are revealed from an aesthetic point of view. It's
beautiful in the act of perception, in a move that allows you to explore the surrounding reality.
The viewer's position is specific in the context of this interpretation of the body. Watching
the actor in plastic performance as "reads" the cognitive experience on the physical level. It does
not always produce a clear Association with the subject of "knowledge", but always the body reacts
emotionally to the process of deploying the image, and this is due to the moment of aesthetic perception of the work.
Plastic performances such theaters as "DEREVO", "AXE", "Poem-theatre", "ODDDance",
"Morph" clearly demonstrate the cognitive Foundation of physicality. Their work is, primarily, indepth analysis of the surrounding reality through the body of the actor. It represents an artistic image, reveals new properties of the object or the subject represented in the play, through bodily experience.
Summing up, it should be noted that bodily images in the process of development of culture
are undergoing a number of changes that reflect the attitude to the human body and embodied in
artistic ideal. "Cultural body" is generated by norms, values and specific social context that is inherent in different epochs.
In the twentieth century the body loses its uniqueness, becomes objectified, miserable, helpless, body-subject, which is clearly confirmed by the artistic practice of the time. Post-modern devalues the body by virtualizing it.
However, bodily-oriented approach in the Humanities makes for a fresh look at the body,
giving his cognitive function, making the "materialization" of the individual. People can now know
the reality of the surrounding world and their own only with the help of the body. Such an approach
begins to emerge in a new form of theatrical art – plastic theatre. This phenomenon is an illustration
of the changing role of the body in the artistic process, and the relationship to him as to the learning
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