Line as the Essence of Becoming-Artist

  • Abstract:

    Philosophy seems content to address the artist in terms of genius, history, standards, or to analyze his or her radical nature. But what is the essence of the artist? In this paper I argue that line is the essence of becoming-artist: the artist’s privileged relationship with line is one of revisiting the nascent place of form, where bare line is the primordial instantiation of space and time, and that this repetition is paramount to existence through an unfinalizable anticipation of re-creation. Even if the initial void and point are more fundamental than the line, until the point begins to move, time remains fixed and space remains indeterminate, for there is no “you are here” when there is no other “there.” This paper presents positions espoused by the philosophers Jean-Luc Nancy, Brian Massumi, Martin Heidegger, Giorgio Agamben, and Henri Maldiney to show that the artist’s sense of anticipation drives the need to revisit the birthplace of form via essential line, while simultaneously exposing the errancy of art being defined as mimēsis.