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By Gen Doy

Rules of selfhood, from Descartes' concept of "I imagine consequently I am" to postmodern notions of the fragmented and de-centred self, were an important to the visible arts. Gen Doy explores this courting, from Holbein's "Ambassadors" and the early smooth interval as much as and past Marc Quinn's "Self" (Blood Head). Arguing that the significance of subjectivity for artwork is going a ways past self-portraits, she explores such themes as self-expression; the self, paintings and intake; self-presentation; images and the theatre of the self; the marginalized - beggars and asylum seekers - and "the genuine me". quite a lot of artists, together with Tracey Emin, Jeff Wall, Eugene Palmer and Karen Knorr, are mentioned, in addition to ancient fabric from past classes.

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Subjectivity is present in all forms of human society, lived and embodied in different ways throughout differing economic, cultural and social conditions. Human subjectivity should be conceptualised dialectically, neither as passively formed by social and economic conditions, nor as a totally free agent dominating her/ his environment and other human subjects. We should also beware of making value judgements on subjectivity based on ideology, class and an assumption that modern is always ‘superior’.

The centrality of the conscious self results in an unjust self, which makes itself the centre of everything, tyrannises the selves of others and wants to subjugate them, writes Pascal. ’84 At other times, Pascal sees the self as a fiction, an imaginary construct that does not really exist. Only abstract qualities (temporarily) embodied in people and their actions are admirable, not the self per se. In Pensée no. 688, he writes: What is the self? A man goes to the window to see the people passing by; if I pass by, can I say he went there to see me?

Palmer’s paintings visually materialise fragmentation and depthlessness, identified by postmodern theorists such as Fredric Jameson as epitomising the postmodern experience of subjectivity in late capitalism and its ‘globalising’ dominance. It is my aim in this chapter to investigate notions of Cartesian subjectivity in relation to these three images, but also to problematise Cartesian subjectivity and its legacies in the context of dialectically conceptualised views of modernity and postmodernity.

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