Translating non-figuration

Heather Dohollau’s poems on pure visuality

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

This article explores the dialogue between poems by Heather Dohollau and art forms that seem particularly alien to verbal ordering, namely so-called ‘abstract’ canvases by Joan Mitchell (No Daisies) and Geneviève Asse (Sans titre, 1988). Dohollau's ekphrastic texts relate to the painting's verbal element — its title — which teases us into identifying objects in the painting even as it forbids us to do so. Representational instability is reflected in the free circulation of metaphors set in motion. Words do not aim to dominate their visual counterpart, thus challenging views of ekphrasis as rivalry that are traced from Lessing to the critical rhetoric of W. J. T. Mitchell and his followers. Rather, I argue that Dohollau's poems seek to translate the painting's very resistance to language through specifically poetic resources. Words also aim to recreate art perception in its sensorial, preverbal fabric by emphasizing the haptic involvement of sight. Thus Dohollau's poems gesture towards a visual–verbal bilingualism, transcending the limits of what a single semiotic system can express. In the process, both the form and the ethos of ekphrasis are reinvented.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)276-289
Number of pages14
JournalFrench Studies
Volume64
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2010

Fingerprint

art
multilingualism
follower
semiotics
metaphor
rhetoric
dialogue
language
resources
Translating
Visuality
Poem
Ekphrasis
Haptics
Poetics
Ethos
Follower
Bilingualism
Art
Joan Mitchell

Keywords

  • contemporary French poetry
  • visual arts
  • non-figuration
  • ekphrasis
  • haptic sight

Cite this

Translating non-figuration : Heather Dohollau’s poems on pure visuality. / O'Connor, Clemence.

In: French Studies, Vol. 64, No. 3, 07.2010, p. 276-289.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{d3a644a67ac047e5932aafba08c7cd3c,
title = "Translating non-figuration: Heather Dohollau’s poems on pure visuality",
abstract = "This article explores the dialogue between poems by Heather Dohollau and art forms that seem particularly alien to verbal ordering, namely so-called ‘abstract’ canvases by Joan Mitchell (No Daisies) and Genevi{\`e}ve Asse (Sans titre, 1988). Dohollau's ekphrastic texts relate to the painting's verbal element — its title — which teases us into identifying objects in the painting even as it forbids us to do so. Representational instability is reflected in the free circulation of metaphors set in motion. Words do not aim to dominate their visual counterpart, thus challenging views of ekphrasis as rivalry that are traced from Lessing to the critical rhetoric of W. J. T. Mitchell and his followers. Rather, I argue that Dohollau's poems seek to translate the painting's very resistance to language through specifically poetic resources. Words also aim to recreate art perception in its sensorial, preverbal fabric by emphasizing the haptic involvement of sight. Thus Dohollau's poems gesture towards a visual–verbal bilingualism, transcending the limits of what a single semiotic system can express. In the process, both the form and the ethos of ekphrasis are reinvented.",
keywords = "contemporary French poetry, visual arts, non-figuration , ekphrasis , haptic sight",
author = "Clemence O'Connor",
year = "2010",
month = "7",
doi = "10.1093/fs/knq033",
language = "English",
volume = "64",
pages = "276--289",
journal = "French Studies",
issn = "0016-1128",
publisher = "Oxford University Press",
number = "3",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Translating non-figuration

T2 - Heather Dohollau’s poems on pure visuality

AU - O'Connor, Clemence

PY - 2010/7

Y1 - 2010/7

N2 - This article explores the dialogue between poems by Heather Dohollau and art forms that seem particularly alien to verbal ordering, namely so-called ‘abstract’ canvases by Joan Mitchell (No Daisies) and Geneviève Asse (Sans titre, 1988). Dohollau's ekphrastic texts relate to the painting's verbal element — its title — which teases us into identifying objects in the painting even as it forbids us to do so. Representational instability is reflected in the free circulation of metaphors set in motion. Words do not aim to dominate their visual counterpart, thus challenging views of ekphrasis as rivalry that are traced from Lessing to the critical rhetoric of W. J. T. Mitchell and his followers. Rather, I argue that Dohollau's poems seek to translate the painting's very resistance to language through specifically poetic resources. Words also aim to recreate art perception in its sensorial, preverbal fabric by emphasizing the haptic involvement of sight. Thus Dohollau's poems gesture towards a visual–verbal bilingualism, transcending the limits of what a single semiotic system can express. In the process, both the form and the ethos of ekphrasis are reinvented.

AB - This article explores the dialogue between poems by Heather Dohollau and art forms that seem particularly alien to verbal ordering, namely so-called ‘abstract’ canvases by Joan Mitchell (No Daisies) and Geneviève Asse (Sans titre, 1988). Dohollau's ekphrastic texts relate to the painting's verbal element — its title — which teases us into identifying objects in the painting even as it forbids us to do so. Representational instability is reflected in the free circulation of metaphors set in motion. Words do not aim to dominate their visual counterpart, thus challenging views of ekphrasis as rivalry that are traced from Lessing to the critical rhetoric of W. J. T. Mitchell and his followers. Rather, I argue that Dohollau's poems seek to translate the painting's very resistance to language through specifically poetic resources. Words also aim to recreate art perception in its sensorial, preverbal fabric by emphasizing the haptic involvement of sight. Thus Dohollau's poems gesture towards a visual–verbal bilingualism, transcending the limits of what a single semiotic system can express. In the process, both the form and the ethos of ekphrasis are reinvented.

KW - contemporary French poetry

KW - visual arts

KW - non-figuration

KW - ekphrasis

KW - haptic sight

U2 - 10.1093/fs/knq033

DO - 10.1093/fs/knq033

M3 - Article

VL - 64

SP - 276

EP - 289

JO - French Studies

JF - French Studies

SN - 0016-1128

IS - 3

ER -