The paradigmatic articulation for the modern age of the work of art’s relation to the “off” is Hamlet. Hamlet’s ghost, occupying the off-stage as the play begins, is a figure for the dimension of the “off-stage.” The figure of the ghost appears with the disappearance of divine order, and the work of art, which now becomes fascinated with the new dimension of the “off,” becomes the arena for showing ghosts, replacing the sacred work as an arena for showing the divine. In order to demonstrate the generality of this matrix the book engages in a discussion of Bruegel’s Landscape with the Fall of Icarus and Tarkovsky’s Solaris which, much like Hamlet, show the emergence of the modern work of art to depend on the disappearance of divine order, associated in both works with the death of the father.
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