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The Impossible Nude: Chinese Art and Western Aesthetics (review)

The Impossible Nude: Chinese Art and Western Aesthetics (review) The Impossible Nude: Chinese Art and Western Aesthetics. By Francois Jullien, trans¸ lated by Maev de la Guardia, with photographs by Ralph Gibson. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 2007. Pp. 136. Hardcover $40.00. Reviewed by Christian Helmut Wenzel National Chi Nan University The Impossible Nude: Chinese Art and Western Aesthetics by Francois Jullien is a ¸ small book that is well translated and full of ideas.1 Jullien argues--and illustrates-- that the nude was not possible in China. The nude, he shows, is not just a naked body, but an idealization, an expression of essence and form, sensible, intellectual, and divine. It freezes a moment in time and evokes the eternal. The nude would not have been possible without the Greek metaphysics of logos, eidos, and hule, form ¯ and matter. Viewed against this background--and assuming that it matters for the nude--it is no wonder that the nude cannot be found in China, where one simply does not have this metaphysical background, but instead is focused on transformation, process, resonance, movement, continuity, the indirect, the allusive, and the indicial. In Chinese painting it is not formal resemblance and fixation that counts, but grasping the energy of qi, http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Philosophy East and West University of Hawai'I Press

The Impossible Nude: Chinese Art and Western Aesthetics (review)

Philosophy East and West , Volume 59 (2) – Apr 17, 2009

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University of Hawai'I Press
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Copyright © University of Hawai'I Press
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1529-1898
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Abstract

The Impossible Nude: Chinese Art and Western Aesthetics. By Francois Jullien, trans¸ lated by Maev de la Guardia, with photographs by Ralph Gibson. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 2007. Pp. 136. Hardcover $40.00. Reviewed by Christian Helmut Wenzel National Chi Nan University The Impossible Nude: Chinese Art and Western Aesthetics by Francois Jullien is a ¸ small book that is well translated and full of ideas.1 Jullien argues--and illustrates-- that the nude was not possible in China. The nude, he shows, is not just a naked body, but an idealization, an expression of essence and form, sensible, intellectual, and divine. It freezes a moment in time and evokes the eternal. The nude would not have been possible without the Greek metaphysics of logos, eidos, and hule, form ¯ and matter. Viewed against this background--and assuming that it matters for the nude--it is no wonder that the nude cannot be found in China, where one simply does not have this metaphysical background, but instead is focused on transformation, process, resonance, movement, continuity, the indirect, the allusive, and the indicial. In Chinese painting it is not formal resemblance and fixation that counts, but grasping the energy of qi,

Journal

Philosophy East and WestUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Apr 17, 2009

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