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Lequeu

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2016.07.19
The kind of laughter provoked by... borrowing from Philippe Duboy
Surprisingly, Lequeu's work appears as a deliberate illustration of the definition and classification of architecture included by d'Alembert in his detailed account of the system of human knowledge for the 1751 Encyclopedic:
The classification of the departments of human knowledge into History, which is related to Memory; Philosophy, which derives from Reason; and Poetry, which is the product of Imagination .... History treats of human beings who really exist or who have existed; and Poetry treats of human beings imagined on the model of historical beings .... Here we mean by Poetry only that which is Fiction .... We shall relate Architecture, Music, Painting, Sculpture, Engraving, etc., to Poetry .... As for the Architect, he imitates Nature only imperfectly through the symmetry of his works .... Poetry has its monsters, even as Nature has: one must include among them all the products of the disordered imagination, and such works may exist in every genre.


Inasmuch as it is fiction, Lequeu's work, which at first sight appears to be the product of a disordered imagination, finds its place within 'a certain Chinese encyclopaedia'. It is Lequeu's monstrous achievement that he constructs a space in which encyclopaedic listing, carried to excess, ruins classical representation. His game is a deadly Aunt Sally, a jeu de massacre.

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