Lyotard and the figural in performance, art and writing 


  • Price:£27.99 (paperback)
  • ISBN: 9781472522443
  • Year of publication: 2014
  • Pages: 224
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Dimensions in mm: 234 x 256

This original study offers a timely reconsideration of the work of French philosopher Jean-François Lyotard in relation to art, performance and writing. How can we write about art, whilst acknowledging the transformation that inevitably accompanies translations of both media and temporality? That is the question that persistently dogs Lyotard's own writings on art, and to which this book responds through reference to artists from the recently-formed canon of performance art history, including the myths of seminal figures Marina Abramovic and Vito Acconci, and the controlled documentation of Gina Pane's actions. Through the unstable, untranslatable element that Lyotard calls the figural, his thought is brought to bear on attempts to write a history of performance art and to question the paradoxically prescriptive demand for rules to govern 're-performance'.

Kiff Bamford contextualises Lyotard's writings and approach with reference to both his contemporaries, including Deleuze and Kristeva, and the contemporary art about which they wrote, whilst arguing for the pertinence of Lyotard's provocations today.

Bamford's book draws welcome and long overdue attention to Lyotard as the poststructuralist thinker most concerned with art... Lyotard and the 'figural' in Performance, Art and Writing is a surprising and quite brilliant book, one which takes its place among the small number of essential books on Lyotard in English.

Ashley Woodward H-France Review

This is the most important book on Lyotard and art (incontournable, as the French say). Bamford accomplishes that most difficult of writerly turns: peerless research, genuine novelty, rewarding reflections, all in elegant and flowing style (a rare and beautiful thing, as we say).

James Williams Professor of European Philosophy at the University of Dundee, UK