Centaur at the Edge of the Forest: Нegelian Art History and Temporal Discursive Violence
The study is devoted to one of the most relevant topics in art theory and philosophy of art — the search for principles for constructing a world history of art that would not be Western-centric. Since the very emergence of a general history of art as a discipline was influenced by Hegel’s philosophical system, attempts to develop a new history of art from its beginnings in the 1960s to contemporary decolonial initiatives, have focused on deconstructing various aspects of its Hegelian foundations. In its most radical form, Hegel can be seen as the cause of the “white colonist” view of the art history of “Other” cultures, which are attributed traits such as “primitiveness,” “backwardness,” or are completely denied a place in history. This paper examines three ideas that underlie traditional art history (linearity, the principle of significance, and monochrony), as well as three philosophical questions that create any such history (what concept of history is chosen, how the principle of movement through history is understood, and what the principle selection of art history records is). These ideas and questions will be examined in relation to Hegel’s philosophy, along with how their many practical interpretations deviate to varying degrees from the original. All of them are connected by the fact that they presuppose a certain philosophy of history and time. To reconsider the critique of Hegelianism, this study proposes to examine it through the concept of temporal discursive violence, which is constructed by applying the anthropological concept of the denial of coevalness to the Other to the context of temporal relations in the history of art. It will be shown that the rejection of Hegelian principles may lead to a large number of paradoxical situations, in which the history of art turns into a meaningless catalog or even into big data. Next there will be an attempt to prove that (a) the problem with Hegelianism in the history of art can be translated into the problem of temporal discursive violence, however, (b) this problem is not solved by relativization, the rejection of Hegel, or the selective preservation of his principles.