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Seeing the Invisible On Kandinsky by Michel Henry

Seeing the Invisible On Kandinsky


Seeing the Invisible On Kandinsky by Michel Henry

This work provides a unique, philosophical interpretation of a significant twentieth-century painter - Wassily Kandinsky. Michel Henry was one of the leading French philosophers of the twentieth century. His numerous works of philosophy are all organized around the theme of life. In contrast to the scientific understanding of life as a biological process, Henry's philosophy develops a conception of life as an immediate feeling of one's own living. Seeing the Invisible marks Henry's most sustained engagement in the field of aesthetics. Through an analysis of the life and works of Wassily Kandinsky, Henry uncovers the philosophical significance of Kandinsky's revolution in painting: that abstract art reveals the invisible essence of life.Henry shows that Kandinsky separates colour and line from the constraints of visible form and, in so doing, conveys the invisible intensity of life - a force rooted in the corporeity and pathos of all living beings. More than just a study of art history, this book presents Kandinsky as an artist who is engaged in the project of painting the invisible and thus offers invaluable methodological clues for Henry's own phenomenology of the invisible.


Michel Henry's work consistently re-imagines the means through which life incarnates or makes manifest to itself the very essence of its being. In Seeing the Invisible Henry extends his philosophy, as material phenomenology, to the aesthetic, reappraising abstract art in terms of affectivity, emotional life and the essential communication that takes place between the community and the artwork at the level of sensibility. Scott Davidson's clear and timely translation provides the reader with both a revolutionary take on twentieth century art and a gateway into the thought of one of the leading French philosophers of the past fifty years. - Dr Michael O'Sullivan, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

About the Author

Michel Henry (1922-2002) was a leading French philosopher and novelist. Scott Davidson is Associate Professor and Chair of the Philosophy Department at Oklahoma City University, USA.

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Book Info

Publication date

15th April 2009


Michel Henry

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Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd. an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing PLC


176 pages


Philosophy: aesthetics
Theory of art



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