This is what Derrida calls the parergon: “Neither work (ergon) nor outside the work (hors d’oeuvre), neither inside nor outside, neither above nor below. Despite its name, the Deconstruction that is associated with Derrida is not an . The parergon is the frame, the boundary between the art work. In this respect, the study follows on from. Derrida’s famous deconstruction of Kant’s parergon (frame) in his Critique of. Judgement. Derrida’s work exposes what.

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Over the past century, there seems to have been a growing consensus on the idea that what defines a work of art as art is the context it appears within. Contemporary art discourses tend to accept that the status of a work serrida art as art is a pregiven condition, and analyze how the work functions retrospectively.

Such analyses do not attempt to provide prescriptive frameworks, but rather degrida to understand the specific ideas and relations represented and produced through the work.

Therefore it is not surprising that more and more artists have been turning to the question of context as the main preoccupation of their artistic activities. It seems appropriate, then, to seek to understand the physical and cultural contexts which allow the work to be perceived as work, instead of looking for artistic qualities that exist within it inherently.


This question is employed by Derrida at first in a literal sense and then turns into a metaphorical and epistemological inquiry by extension: When looking at a framed painting, the frame is part parergoh the wall, whereas when looking at the wall, the frame is part of the painting. The function of the frame, then, is to separate the interior from the exterior.

But what is the frame derridz It seems to provide a liminal space that cannot be pinned down as of the work or outside of the work, so it must have a logic of its own.

This is what Derrida calls the parergon: Since these frames are not closed, the viewer is able to view their cross sections and recognize that they are extrusions of architectural silhouettes, such as the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul and the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem.

Jaques Derrida excerpt from Parergon, The Truth in Painting (1978)

The physicality of the frames begins to function as a metaphorical allusion to religion and architecture. There is a complexity that arises through linking these architectural structures whose religious contexts have shifted to the picture frame, since the frame is largely a legacy of Western art derdida and therefore Christianity.

Although enclosing borders were used in the art of Ancient Egyptians, it was in Europe that picture frames became a widely accepted norm in painting. What could it mean, then, to frame the frame in a cross-cultural context of religion?


Jacques Derrida and Deconstruction | Art History Unstuffed

Derriva the picture frame itself is accepted as an essentially Western device, the implication might be the domination of Western culture over the East. Or, conversely, as the frame is being used in an Islamic context in the transformation of the Hagia Sophia from a church to a mosque, to cite one examplewe could say that Western entities are being appropriated by the East as a means of agency. But these hasty interpretations take the binary opposition parerrgon the West and East as a priori, hindering other more complex possibilities.

It seems more productive to keep the fluid nature of these framing devices in mind, and to realize that the same devices can be used in framing different ideologies.

As such, they will necessarily contain a multiplicity of cultural contexts blending into one another, making it impossible to fit them into stereotypical categories. Perhaps, then, the function of parerga will be to draw attention to the act of framing itself, rather than what is being framed.

The University of Chicago Press, 9.

Deleuze and the Framing of the Earth New York: Columbia University Press,