Document 09: A Propos Frame

from Frame

Multicolored piles of gravel on black asphalt
behind rows of aluminum sheds.

We put frames around anything we wish.

In one version, wild dogs go for each other’s
throats (they assume the optimal to exist).

Unoccupied territory between opposing sides.

Matter of interest unfolds as a story.
Conflicts put on the table for debate.

Frame: 1971–1990, 260         

The parergon stands out [se détache] both from the ergon [the work] and from the milieu, it stands out first like a figure on a ground. But it does not stand out in the same way as the work. The latter also stands out against a ground. But the parergonal frame stands out against two grounds [fonds], but with respect to each of those two grounds, it merges [se fond] into the other. With respect to the work which can serve as a ground for it, it merges into the wall [on which the painting is hung], and then, gradually, into the general text. With respect to the background which the general text is, it merges into the work which stands out against the general background. There is always a form on a ground, but the parergon is a form which has as its traditional determination not that it stands out but that it disappears, buries itself, effaces itself, melts away at the moment it deploys its greatest energy. The frame is in no case a background in the way that the milieu or the work can be, but neither is its thickness as margin a figure. Or at least it is a figure which comes away of its own accord. [s’enlève d’elle-même].

—Jacques Derrida, “Parergon,” The Truth in Painting, 61         


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