“What is thus sought, what the painting is seeking, is the mutual visitation of a spectator and a painting…so that we might know how to see the invisible and bring about an anamnesis that arises before birth (or at the far end of death).” Jean-Luc Nancy, “The Visitation”.
Nancy is talking specifically about the painting by Pontormo (The Visitation), but the relationship of viewer to the art work is, I think, always one of a “mutual visitation” – an examining, an experiencing, a becoming aware. Does the object stare back? Can it? What does it want?