Michel Foucault wrote prolifically on many topics including, art, religion, and politics. He also eloquently articulated how power structures are formed and how they also might assist resistance and emancipation. This book uses the hermeneutical lens of Foucault’s writings on art to examine the performative, material, and political aspects of contemporary theology.
The borderland between philosophy, theology, and art is explored through Foucault’s analyses of artists such as Diego Velázquez, Édouard Manet, René Magritte, Paul Rebeyrolle, and Gerard Fromanger. Here special focus is placed on performativity and materiality—or what the book terms the mystery of things. At successive junctures, the book discovers a postrepresentational critique of transcendence; an enigmatic material sacramentality; playful theopolitical accounts of the transformative force of stupidity and nonsense; and political imagery in motion enabling theological interpretations of contemporary collectives such as Pussy Riot and the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. In conversation with contemporary thinkers including Catherine Keller, Louise-Marie Chauvet, John Caputo, Daniel Barber, Mark C. Taylor, Jeffrey W. Robbins, and Mattias Martinson, the book outlines this source of inspiration for contemporary radical theology.
This is a book with a fresh and original take on Foucault, art, and theology. As such, it will have great appeal to scholars and academics in theology, religion and the arts, the philosophy of religion, political philosophy, and aesthetics.
Table of Contents
Introduction 1 The Surface of Appearances: A Mystery of Things 2 Velázquez: The Place of Theology 3 Manet: Material Sacramentality 4 Magritte: The Betrayal of Images 5 Rebeyrolle: Theory as Activism 6 Fromanger: Imagery in Motion Conclusion: Marvels and Actions
Petra Carlsson Redell is an Associate Professor of Systematic Theology at Stockholm School of Theology, Sweden. She has published multiple times on religion, philosophy and art in journals such as Studia Theologica and The Oxford Journal of Literature & Theology, and in books including Mysticism as Revolt (2014).