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Abject VisionsPowers of Horror in Art and Visual Culture$
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Rina Arya and Nicholas Chare

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780719096280

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719096280.001.0001

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Animals, art, abjection

Animals, art, abjection

(p.90) 5 Animals, art, abjection
Abject Visions

Barbara Creed

Jeanette Hoorn

Manchester University Press

Barbara Creed and Jeanette Hoorn’s essay, ‘Animals, Art and Abjection’, teases out the implications of Kristeva’s contention in Powers of Horrorthat the abject engenders a fragile state within which the human strays on the territory of the animal. For Kristeva, some cultures have branded animals as abject and as ‘representatives of sex and murder’. In such cultures, the animal is figured in negative terms and notions of animalism, of the human as an animal species, are suppressed. Animals therefore figure as impure and are made to form the constitutive outside to the human. Creed and Hoorn, however, argue that contemporary art practices that explore animals and animality do so as a means to challenge the notion that animals form humankind’s abject other. In this context, the artworks do not function to purify the abject but rather embrace what has hitherto been labelled as abject as a means to renegotiate its status from within an anthropocentric society.

Keywords:   Animal, Animalism and animality, Abjection and the animal, Art and animals, Anthropocentrism, Feminist art practice, Informe, Georges Bataille, Julia Kristeva

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