I have been doing some work on the possible relationship between heterotopia and the space of visual art and was heartened to come across the following text by the art historian, Georges Didi-Huberman, introducing an exhibition entitled ‘Atlas’:
This is why ATLAS shows the game to which numerous artists have given themselves; this “infinite natural history” (according to Paul Klee) or that “atlas of the impossible” (according to Michel Foucault regarding the disconcerting erudition of Jorge Luis Borges). We can discover, then, in what sense contemporary artists are “scholars” or inventors of a special genre: they gather the scattered pieces of the world as would a child or a rag-and- bone man – two figures to whom Walter Benjamin compared the authentic materialist scholar. They bring together things outside of normal classifications, and glean from these affinities a new kind of knowledge which opens our eyes to certain unperceived aspects of our world and to the unconscious of our vision.
Introduction by Georges Didi-Huberman to the exhibition ATLAS at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid, 2010.
French Text in: Foucault, M. (2011) Cahier de L’Herne 95, eds. P. Artières, J. Bert, F. Gros and J. Revel. Paris: Editions de L’Herne.
7 February 2015