“This artist deconstructs popular conceptions about …”
I have to vent about the misuse of the verb: “Deconstruct.” I hear people say this all the time, when they should be saying, “analyze,” “explore” or any number of other verbs. And yet, there is insistence on using this word “deconstruct.” Perhaps this sounds fancier, has an air of sophistication? Well, it doesn’t. Very rarely is someone actually “deconstructing” something. If you are using this word in this way, odds are that you sound stupid.
Lets take a look at the origin of this word and what is really means. From WikiPedia:
“Deconstruction is the name given by French philosopher Jacques Derrida …
Deconstruction generally operates by conducting close textual readings with a view to demonstrating that the text is not a discrete whole, and that it on the contrary contains several irreconcilable, contradictory meanings. What is shown through this process, therefore, is that there is more than one interpretation of a text, that these interpretations are inextricably linked in and by the text itself, that the incompatibility of these interpretations is irreducible … J. Hillis Miller has described deconstruction in the following terms: ‘Deconstruction is not a dismantling of the structure of a text, but a demonstration that it has already dismantled itself. Its apparently-solid ground is no rock, but thin air.’"
In short, the word refers to a specific technique. This may be a form of analysis, but it does not mean, “to analyze.” It is a hard term to define, and perhaps this difficulty lends itself to misuse. But if you are an artist or art critic, lets try to not use this word unless this REALLY is what we are talking about.
*Bonus: If anyone can “deconstruct” this post by showing how the words I have used undermine my intended message, you get 5 points.