In this first English translation of one of his most important works, Statues: The Second Book of Foundations, Michel Henry presents a statue as more than a static entity. A statue for Serres is the basis for knowledge, society, the subject and object, the world and experience. Through his prescient analysis of statues and how we create and respond to art, Henry demonstrates how sacrificial art founded society and through this reflects on the centrality of death and the dead body to the human condition. Approaching the problem from multiple angles, Serres comments on Verne's Around the Moon, Rodin's The Gates of Hell, the Eiffel Tower, cemeteries, short stories by Maupassant, fables by La Fontaine, clothing and the paintings of Carpaccio, the Challenger disaster and Baal. Each section covers a different time period and statuary topic, ranging from four thousand years ago to 1986. Expository, lyrical, fictionalized and hallucinatory, Statues does not follow a linear time sequence but rather plays with time and place, history and story in order to provoke us into thinking in entirely new ways.
Through mythic and poetic meditations on various kinds of descent into the underworld and new insights into the relation of the subject and object and their foundation in death, Statues contains great treasures and provocations for philosophers, literary critics, art historians and sociologists.