Rosalind Krauss - Photographys Discursive Spaces

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 563
  • Published : August 31, 2012
Open Document
Text Preview
Photography's Discursive Spaces: Landscape/View Rosalind Krauss Art Journal, Vol. 42, No. 4, The Crisis in the Discipline. (Winter, 1982), pp. 311-319. Stable URL: http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0004-3249%28198224%2942%3A4%3C311%3APDSL%3E2.0.CO%3B2-8 Art Journal is currently published by College Art Association.

Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use, available at http://www.jstor.org/about/terms.html. JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use provides, in part, that unless you have obtained prior permission, you may not download an entire issue of a journal or multiple copies of articles, and you may use content in the JSTOR archive only for your personal, non-commercial use. Please contact the publisher regarding any further use of this work. Publisher contact information may be obtained at http://www.jstor.org/journals/caa.html. Each copy of any part of a JSTOR transmission must contain the same copyright notice that appears on the screen or printed page of such transmission.

The JSTOR Archive is a trusted digital repository providing for long-term preservation and access to leading academic journals and scholarly literature from around the world. The Archive is supported by libraries, scholarly societies, publishers, and foundations. It is an initiative of JSTOR, a not-for-profit organization with a mission to help the scholarly community take advantage of advances in technology. For more information regarding JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org.

http://www.jstor.org Sat Feb 9 21:45:30 2008

Photography's Discursive Spaces:

By Rosalind Krauss

L

et us start with two images, identically titled Tufa Domes, Pyramid Lake, Nevada. The first (Fig. I) is a (recently) celebrated photograph made by Timothy O'Sullivan in 1868 that functions with special insistence within the art historical construction of nineteenth-century landscape photography. The second (Fig. 2) is a lithographic copy of the first, produced for the publication of Clarence King's Systematic Geology in 1878. Twentieth-century sensibility welcomes the original O'Sullivan as a model of the mysterious, silent beauty to which landscape photography had access during the early decades of the medium. In the photograph, three bulky masses of rock are seen as if deployed on a kind of abstract, transparent chessboard, marking by their separate positions a retreating trajectory into depth. A fanatical descriptive clarity has bestowed on the bodies of these rocks a hallucinatory wealth of detail, so that each crevice, each granular trace of the original

'

volcanic heat finds its record. Despite all this, the rocks seem unreal and the space dreamlike, the tufa domes appear as if suspended in a luminous ether, unbounded and directionless. The brilliance of this undifferentiated ground, in which water and sky connect in an almost seamless continuum, overpowersthe material objects within it, so that if the rocks seem to float, to hover, they do so as shape merely. The luminous ground overmasters their bulk, making them instead, the functions of design. The mysterious beauty of the image is in this opulent flattening of its space. By comparison, the lithograph is an object of insistent visual banality. Everything that is mysterious in the photograph has been explained with supplemental, chatty detail. Clouds have been massed in the sky. The far shore of the lake has been given a definitive shape. The surface of the lake has been characterized by little eddies and ripples. And most important for the demotion of this image from strange to -

-

common~lace. reflections of the rocks the in the water have been carefully recreated, so that gravity and direction are now restored to this space formerly awash with the vague luminosity of too rapidly exposed collodion. But it is clear, of course, that the difference between the two images-the photograph and its translation-is not a function of the...
tracking img