‘Great artists are not transcribers of the world, they are its rivals.’
Malraux, The Voices of Silence
'On this earth of ours where everything is subject to the passing of time, one thing only is both subject to time and yet victorious over it: the work of art.'
André Malraux, TV program: Promenades imaginaires dans Florence, 1975.
Australian National University
Malraux and the theory of art
Malraux's Theory of Art - Challenges to Traditional Aesthetics
version française - e ora anche
André Malraux and the Challenge to Aesthetics Journal of European Studies. March 2003, 33: pp 23-40. Concerns two of Malraux's major works on the visual arts, The Voices of Silence and The Metamorphosis of the Gods. The essay argues that these works present the discipline of aesthetics as traditionally conceived with a fundamental challenge, and invite us to think about art in a radically different way.
The general relationship between art and the passing of time (which has nothing to do with the so-called "test of time") is a crucial aspect of the nature of art, but one that is almost completely neglected in contemporary aesthetics (whether 'analytic' or 'continental'). These items address key aspects of the question:
NEW: Analytic Aesthetics and the Dilemma of Timelessness. A paper presented to a seminar in the ANU School of Philosophy, 11 November 2014.
Time: The Forgotten Dimension of Art. Discusses key questions to be asked about the temporal nature of art, and explains why they need to be asked.
revolution: André Malraux and the temporal nature of art.
European Studies. 2009, 39: 198-224. Explains
Malraux's revolutionary understanding of the relationship between art
and time - the notion of metamorphosis. Also discusses certain
responses to this aspect of Malraux's thought - e.g. by Maurice
Blanchot - and an (unsuccessful) attempt in 'analytic' aesthetics to
come to grips with the issue of art and time.
Art and History: Taking the Past Seriously Examines certain arguments in contemporary aesthetics that marginalize historical and anthropological evidence concerning art.
André Malraux, l’art et le temps. A paper delivered at a seminar on Malraux at the Sorbonne.
What the question of art and time is not about. Comments on some potentially misleading ideas.
ART AND TIME
This book explores in greater depth ideas I have outlined in various articles and conference papers, and in my book on Malraux. It traces the important, if sorely neglected, history of the topic of art and time in Western culture and considers the positions, express or implied, of a number of modern theorists of art such as Adorno, Sartre, Benjamin and contemporary writers in 'analytic' aesthetics.
The publisher's page gives a link to a pdf of the Contents and early pages. The book includes 9 illustrations.
(avec version française)
For the first time, a comprehensive, step by step exposition of Malraux’s theory of art as presented in The Voices of Silence and The Metamorphosis of the Gods.
30 illustrations, 23 in colour.
Extracts from a review of Art and the Human Adventure*:
Recent comments on Art and Time in the Australasian Journal of Philosophy
"Derek Allan’s accomplished and insightful book tackles a philosophical problem that has been neglected in contemporary aesthetics: the relationship between art and time… One admirable feature of Allan’s book is that it is well versed in art history and the history of aesthetics… Art and Time is a well-researched, elegantly written, and lucidly argued book. It explores a problem that has been neglected within contemporary aesthetics, offering a suggestive theoretical response to the problem of art’s relationship to time... [It makes] a welcome contribution to broadening the often parochial, ahistorical character of contemporary aesthetic debates."
first three novels
Art and "the real world". A recent conference paper.
Les Liaisons dangereuses through the eyes of André Malraux. Journal of European Studies. June 2012.Myths about Malraux's Theory of Art.
André Malraux wrote to a friend in 1973: "Of all my books, those I’ve written about art are certainly the ones that have been most seriously misunderstood." This page comments on some of the more common misundertandings.
Is aesthetics based on a mistake?
Argues that aesthetics remains straightjacketed in a conception of art inherited from the eighteenth century and that it now hinders our understanding of art.
Art and Freedom Is there any intrinsic relationship between art and freedom – and if so what kind of freedom might that be?
Letter to Quadrant (an Australian monthly) concerning an article on Malraux in their May 2007 issue.
Art and the Metaphysical - A Challenge to Aesthetic Orthodoxy A conference paper.
Interview about Malraux
Back in 2003, Rick Visser from the weblog Artrift asked me a series of questions about Malraux and art. The weblog is now closed so I've placed a copy of the interview on this website. If asked the same questions today, I might perhaps shift the emphasis a little here and there (I would place more stress on the vital question of art and time, for example) but that's all. So the interview is still an accurate reflection of my views. I should add that Visser's comment in the introduction that The Voices of Silence is now "all but forgotten", while perhaps true of Anglophone countries then (it has never been true of France), is much less accurate today. One sign of the increasing interest in Malraux is the decision of the editors of the Encyclopedia of Aesthetics (OUP) to include a substantial entry on his theory of art in their 2014 edition.
Goya. Old People Eating
“If the words art and beauty had the same meaning, Goya would not be an artist.” André Malraux.
Some painting and sculpture I like: