NPJ Book Review: The Matrixial Borderspace (Theory Out of Bounds) by Bracha Ettinger


The Matrixial Borderspace (Theory Out of Bounds) by Bracha Ettinger (2006).  I read this very complex work after reading God’s Phallus by Rabbi Howard Eilberg Schwartz. Dr. Ettinger incorporates her theories of gender, art, phallocentrism, experience and knowledge and effect of the holocaust and so much more in a complicated intellectual theoretical critique. It’s not a layman’s read.

From my perspective she passionately delves into her own psyche and studies and experience for explanation of the emerging and shared world – looking into beginnings and the reasons for those beginnings. Her “paintings, like the essays, replay the relation between the visible and invisible, the ‘sayable’ and ineffable; the gaze, the subject, and the other.” What is fascinating once the reader wades through the intellectual discourse, is how (as she would later note) we connect with each other through art as the violence of existence distances us from each other. From this distance she likes to ponder among other things the “what and why,” before the actual act occurs and explores the edge between the horizon of memory and identity. It’s a work that one can take away varied meanings with each rereading. Intriguing mind.