The Plasticity of the Past: Valuating, Distancing, Alois Riegl and Neo-Kantian Realism
Adi Efal's project is founded on an examination of the historiographical strategies of the art historian Alois Riegl. Firstly, she suggests a co-examination of Riegl's conception of the dynamics of plastic space (as it appears in his formulations of the "Kunstwollen") vis-à-vis the typology of values he developed in his elaboration of the issue of the formation of attitude towards past monuments. Secondly, she suggests a re-reading of the philosophical undercurrents of Riegl's work, while linking it with central characteristics of the philosophical school known of Neo-Kantian Realism.The notion of "Value" played a major role in the controversies occurring inside the turn-of-the-century Neo-Kantian school. The major issue tackled by most thinkers was: Is it possible to define an objective (and not a relative, neither a subjective, nor an "absolute") value? Or in other words: what is the ontological status of values? Adi Efal aspires to locate Riegl's work in the midst of this controversy, and to suggest that Riegl's work, if read by the premises of Neo-Kantian Realism, furnished a path towards an understanding of real values. The act of Valuating involves an element of Distancing: i.e. an articulation of a (real) relation between a subject and an object. Indeed, Riegl's essay on monuments is an experiment in the dynamics of distancing between the plastic present and the plastic past.
Adi Efal teaches at Tel Aviv University, the Bezalel Academy of Art, and Beit-Berl College. She held post-doctoral positions at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris and the Rosenzweig Center for German-Jewish Culture at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
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