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Chiasmi International

Volume 17, 2015

From Plasticity to the Poetic, through Ricoeur’s Hermeneutics

Anna Caterina Dalmasso
Pages 201-224

L’Artiste et L’Adversité
Hasard et Création Chez Merleau-Ponty

À plusieurs reprises, Merleau-Ponty tisse une correspondance entre art et histoire, entre pratique artistique et action politique : plus précisément il nous invite à former le concept d’histoire sur l’exemple de l’art. À première vue, un tel rapprochement pourrait paraître abstrait, sinon provocateur, l’art étant souvent conçu comme un domaine qui semble avoir peu à faire avec l’espace de l’action. Mais, nous pouvons aujourd’hui comprendre davantage l’intérêt de l’intuition merleau-pontienne, nous, qui faisons l’expérience de la connexion étroite entre l’univers visuel et le milieu politique ou historique, comme des dimensions devenues désormais inséparables. Au fur et à mesure qu’une conception positiviste de l’histoire ou de la politique entendue comme progrès, ou du moins comme projet, échoue sous nos yeux interdits, la question de l’historicité se fait de plus en plus urgente : Merleau-Ponty nous invite à penser l’histoire comme le « lieu de nos interrogations et de nos étonnements », le lieu d’une réponse, voire d’une responsabilité que nos organismes technologiques exigent. C’est à partir de l’expérience de la création artistique et de son rapport constitutif au hasard qu’une pensée de l’historicité peut s’élaborer, là où l’esthétique merleau-pontienne rejoint le mystère d’un sens historique et esquisse implicitement une éthique de la contingence, en ce qu’elle nous appelle à un exercice de la liberté. Throughout his works, Merleau-Ponty has developed the analogy between art and history, between art practice and political action: more precisely he invites us to think about the concept of history on the example of art. At first sight, such an equivalence could seem abstract, if not provocative, insofar as art is still sometimes regarded as a field having little to share with action. But today, experiencing the close connection between the visual and the political environment, we can understand, perhaps better than his contemporaries, what is at stake in Merleau-Ponty’s insight for a new comprehension of history. Whereas a positivist conception of history and politics understood as progress or project seems to be failing before our astonished eyes, the question of historicity becomes more and more urgent: Merleau-Ponty prompts us to think of history as a mysterious junction between facticity and intention, as the beginning of our wonder, as the place of the responsibility that our technological organisms demand. The experience of creation is the figure through which Merleau-Ponty tries to conceive contingency, which is the kernel of the Geneva conference, later called Man and Adversity. So, drawing on Merleau-Ponty’s constant reference to the operation of artistic creation, especially on the reference to El Greco, I aim at examining how a new conception of history can spring by a comprehension of the experience of creation. I will argue that, from the analysis of the relationship between the artist and the sensible, between the artist and her body, Merleau-Ponty comes to outline what I would call an ethics of contingency, insofar as it calls us to the exercise of our freedom. A più riprese Merleau-Ponty tesse una corrispondenza tra arte e storia, tra pratica artistica e azione politica. Più precisamente egli ci invita a plasmare il nostro concetto di storia sull’esempio dell’arte. A prima vista un simile accostamento può apparire come un’astrazione, se non una provocazione, dato che l’arte è spesso pensata come un ambito che poco ha a che fare con lo spazio dell’azione. Ma oggi possiamo meglio comprendere l’interesse di questa intuizione merleau-pontyana, dato che facciamo esperienza quotidiana della stretta connessione tra l’universo visuale e l’ambiente politico e storico, dimensioni divenute ormai inseparabili. Quanto più sfuma sotto i nostri occhi interdetti ogni idea positivistica della storia o della politica come progresso o almeno come progetto, tanto più la questione della storicità si fa urgente. Merleau-Ponty ci invita a pensare la storia come “il luogo delle nostre interrogazioni e dei nostri stupori”, il luogo di una risposta o di una responsabilità che i nostri organismi tecnologici esigono. È proprio a partire dall’esperienza della creazione artistica e dal suo rapporto costitutivo con l’aleatorietà, che un pensiero della storicità può mettersi in cammino, attingendo a quei luoghi in cui l’estetica merleau-pontyana ritrova il mistero di un senso storico e tratteggia implicitamente un’etica della contingenza capace di richiamarci a un esercizio di libertà.

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