In his article Reality and its shadow, Emmanuel Lévinas deals primarily with the character of the work of art. He shows that an image stresses the absence of the object; in the image, the object becomes decomposed into independent sensual qualities. The image also presents a stoppage in time. As such, it puts the artist and the viewer into a state of passivity, making them quite unable act or to conceive. For this reason, the work of art is attacked by Lévinas. It offers pleasure, which is inevitably cowardly and egoistic. Only critique and philosophical interpretation can bring the work of art back to the real world.
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