cover of book

On Obliteration: An Interview with Françoise Armengaud Concerning the Work of Sacha Sosno
by Emmanuel Levinas
translated by Richard A. Cohen
epilogue by Dieter Mersch
foreword by Johannes Bennke
Diaphanes, 2019
Paper: 978-3-0358-0144-6 | eISBN: 978-3-0358-0170-5
Library of Congress Classification NB553.S65L48 2019
Dewey Decimal Classification 730.92

Emmanuel Levinas’s interview with Françoise Armengaud in 1988 is one of the only statements we have from the philosopher, who became influential in various disciplines through his ethics that focuses on the fine arts specifically. Presented in English for the first time here, this interview brings us Levinas’s understanding of “obliteration” as an uncanny, disruptive, and even “unavailable” concept. Discussing the work of the French sculptor Sacha Sosno, Levinas parses the complex relationship between ethics and aesthetics, examining how they play out in artistic operations and practices. In doing so, he turns away from the “ease and lighthearted casualness of the beautiful” to shed light instead on the processes of material wear and tear and the traces of repair that go into the creation and maintenance of works of art, and which ultimately give them a profound uniqueness of presence. This evocative interview uncovers a hidden thread of aesthetic thinking in Levinas’s work and introduces a new way of looking at artistic practices in general.
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