Figure 1a,b
Annunciation, Ambroggio Lorenzetti, painting and plan diagram of implicit spatial relations. Diagrams by Pablo Lorenzo-Eiroa.

Derrida’s concept of parergon questions the origin and the frame of the work of art. For Derrida the content (ergon) of the work is activated and determined by the presence of the frame in which it is situated, questioning its origin.

Since Leon Battista Alberti wrote the first complete treatise on perspective as a method, perspective has been striating Western modern space, as proclaimed by Erwin Panofsky . The growing array of interfaces that today striate the work are layers where information is processed, represented and ultimately presented through different aesthetic ideologies. If the mediums of representation have such a power to regulate the work, then representation is a space of differentiation, where the content-ergon is striated. This creates a responsive topological loop involving form as content.

Panofsky presents Ambrogio Lorenzetti’s Annunciation of 1344 [fig. 1a], analyzing the presence of the implied centered vanishing point that splits the canvas activating the narrative between the two spaces. The structure of the medium of representation performs in the scene symbolically in the presence of the absence of the infinite manifested by the vanishing point. This presence activates the narrative of the painting, artistically engendering within the medium an idea of God interceding between the Angel and Mary, surpassing the representation of an extrinsic content to the presentation of a content only possible within this interface . [fig. 1b].

Las Meninas by Diego Velázquez (1656) [fig. 2a] contrasts and displaces Lorenzetti’s linear perspective developing a technical exposition of a paradoxical quality according to John Searle. This painting invents a conceptual diagram that challenges this linear structure, deconstructs perspective as a medium and builds up a performative relationship between the viewer and the work of art, inducing a psychological and bodily affection . Foucault presents Velázquez work as a suspension, but also a manifesto: the death of representation…

The painting, the painting of the painting, the space of the painting, the space of representation of the painting, the multiple frames, the mirror, the background, the space beyond the space, build up a layering of complex pictorial-spatial problems that imply a conscious architectural quality tensioning vertical picture planes and the plan of the composition. First, in the pictorial plane of his canvas, Velázquez projects what we cannot see, inverting the point of view, confronting the observer. Second, the viewer’s space is again engaged with the mirror in the back that represents the omnipresent power of the royal family, inverting directions with the vanishing point. Third, behind the back plane-façade, the vanishing point framed by the service door, points another virtual infinite space. In coordination with Velazquez’s studio that is represented again in the canvas above the door, the symbolic structure of the unifying perspective of the space is duplicated and another reflexive topological loop between representations and realities is developed. This paradoxical perspectival rupture exchanges deep structure and superficial structure into a continuous topological inversion, constructing a spatial warping between the virtual spaces and the space of the viewer. Lastly, the main vanishing point contrasts to multiple focus of attentions and the inversed perspective cone, establishing a dialectic between a stability performed by the unifying centrality of the normal-structure perspective method and an instability that displaces and produces movement to that structure. This heterotopic space displaces the homogenization of the representational structure that proposes the unifying perspectival cone.

Simultaneously these perspective cones are cut with perpendicular pictorial picture planes that establish an architectural field of layered spaces that reorganize such heterogeneous space, referencing Tintoretto's El Lavatorio (Venice, 1547) which Velazquez previously brought to the Escorial and that acknowledges Palladio's resistance to perspective in a dynamic form [fig. 2b]....

Figure 2a,b
Las Meninas, Velazquez, painting and plan diagram of implicit spatial relations. Diagrams by Pablo Lorenzo-Eiroa.


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