Throughout his works, Merleau-Ponty has developed the analogy between art and history, between art practice and political action: more precisely he invites us to think about the concept of history on the example of art. At first sight, such an equivalence could seem abstract, if not provocative, insofar as art is still sometimes regarded as a field having little to share with action. But today, experiencing the close connection between the visual and the political environment, we can understand, perhaps better than his contemporaries, what is at stake in Merleau-Ponty’s insight for a new comprehension of history. Whereas a positivist conception of history and politics understood as progress or project seems to be failing before our astonished eyes, the question of historicity becomes more and more urgent: Merleau-Ponty prompts us to think of history as a mysterious junction between facticity and intention, as the beginning of our wonder, as the place of the responsibility that our technological organisms demand. The experience of creation is the figure through which Merleau-Ponty tries to conceive contingency, which is the kernel of the Geneva conference, later called Man and Adversity. So, drawing on Merleau-Ponty’s constant reference to the operation of artistic creation, especially on the reference to El Greco, I aim at examining how a new conception of history can spring by a comprehension of the experience of creation. I will argue that, from the analysis of the relationship between the artist and the sensible, between the artist and her body, Merleau-Ponty comes to outline what I would call an ethics of contingency, insofar as it calls us to the exercise of our freedom.

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