Jacques Derrida is dead.
I met him in 1997, when I was at VCA and Elizabeth Presa had organised the Jacques Derrida Commemorative Exhibition. My work, zeroDegrees was highly commended and now I have a signed copy of one of his books. Along with Gilles Deleuze, and Jean Baudrillard, he is one of the biggest influences on my work.
Derrida, who divided his time between France and the United States, argued that the traditional way we read texts makes a number of false assumptions and that they have multiple meanings which even their author may not have understood.
His thinking gave rise to the school of deconstruction, a method of analysis that has been applied to literature, linguistics, philosophy, law and architecture.
It is heralded as showing the multiple layers of meaning at work in language, but was described by critics as nihilistic.
“In him, France gave the world one of the greatest contemporary philosophers, one of the major figures in the intellectual life of our time,” French President Jacques Chirac said in a statement after learning of his death.
“Through his work, he sought to find the free movement which lies at the root of all thinking.”