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Summary: The abject – expressed through the grotesque, the gross and the physically challenging – has long been a source of innovation and scandal in the art world. For Kristeva abjection accounts for much of the complexity of the human condition. She understands abjection to encompass various aspects of our humanity that are often seen as conceptually and/or experientially disparate – emotion, embodiment, affect, repression, criminality, hygiene etc. Kristeva’s guiding intuition is that the abject helps arbitrate between our perception of ourselves as subject and object. In the liminal space between the two, the “I” is experienced in its full heterogeneity to the frequent detriment of traditional ethical, aesthetic, and scientific considerations. This has direct bearing on performance art, whose history is marked by the deliberate departure from beauty and, concurrently, the constant renegotiation of identity between the extremes of subject and object.
Comment: Best if read together with Sigmund Freud's "The Uncanny"[This is a stub entry. Please add your comments to help us expand it]Export citation in BibTeX formatExport text citationView this text on PhilPapersExport citation in Reference Manager formatExport citation in EndNote formatExport citation in Zotero format
Kristeva, Julia. Approaching Abjection
1982, In: Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection, Columbia University Press, pp. 1-31.