Image and transtextuality.
It is no longer a surprise that postmodernity, among its often paradoxal forms of cultural manifestation goes espacially towards evoking history, reconstructing it after the roaring period of the modernist avantgarde, when the need for novelty supresses the need for historical continuity. That mechanism finds a powerful ally in Ihab Hassan’s conception, one of the most important theorist among other names such as J.F. Lyotard, Gianni Vattimo etc.
In order for you to get better the idea of layerd image we shall bring forward an analysis that Gerard Genette applies on literature domain, but which is thought as applicable to any other research fields. We are talking about analyzing transtextuality, notion included in his study: “Palimpsests. La literature de second degree” and defines it as “anything that comes into a direct relation or a less obvious, more hidden, with other texts. In this respect, transtextuality includes all the layring phenomena of a text.
In the mentioned study Gerard Genette presents 5 subspecies: paratextuality, metatextuality, intertextuality, hypertextuality and architextuality. Thus we shall squeeze out of the analysis upon these five subs also the applications they provide, analogically, with the visual arts.
At the text level we can identify it by a text auxiliary signs such as: titles, inter-titles, signatures, illustrations, notes, etc. On the image level, the image title, for instance, is not a part of it directly, yet, it remains related to it such as signature or the author’s notorious-famous name.
At the text level it speaks about the comment relation which unites a text to a second one to which it refers oftenly on critical terms without necessarily quoting it. As for the image level we identify those images that took shape out of the author’s (critic’s one) need to complete it by commenting upon other images or realting his comment upon them. Also, without quoting them necesarily. Often we can find images that use a specific manner of a specific artist into a totaly diffrent context.
At the text level it presumes a relation of co-presence between two or among several texts which actually consists of two texts intertwined. A text is present inside the other. It is easily noticable in the quotation technique. At the image level, the „quotation” of a visual element belonging to a constitutive detail belonging to another image is a sign of intertextuality.
At the textual level it is understood as a balance between hypotext and hyper text in which the latter maintains the structure and even several elements of the former alterating it. A literary example to illustrate the matter would be Daniel Defoe s novel, „Robinson Crusoe” versus Turnier’s „Vendredi ou les Limbes du Pacifique”. At the image level we recognize the „d’apres” theme in which different painters create pastiches that allude to other painters’ works,
Sandow Birk: “Dante’s Inferno, The gate of Hell”
Tom Phillips: “Dante s Inferno”
At the literary level we see it in the both abstract and general zone of the genre/species which determines the genre of a literary work that influences the manner the work finally turns out in the end. On the visual level we see this subspecies in the visual arts genres: painting, sculpture, graphics etc , or going further to portrayal, equestrian sculpture. Worthy to mention is that intermedia genres do reconsider in debates the problem of architextuality to the extent to wich, for instance, the installation is a hybrid genre in which we find remixed and redefined other genres such as sculpture or video art.
“Ars dantesca combinatoria” is an installation, made by Teofil Ioan Stiop, whose constructing is particularly a transtextual foramatting one. Here we deal with a space in which video art combines to bidimensional image presented non/parietal. The resulted images are the consequence of a sum of graphical signs that belong to the illustrations made for the Divina Comedia along the centuries. They are reassembled back into the context and cut out , basically their existance is constructed on the blanks.