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The Materialization Of Immaterial Art

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Viola Lukacs

on 6 June 2014

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Transcript of The Materialization Of Immaterial Art

The Materialization Of Immaterial Art

The relation between the historical conceptual movement and the Frankfurt School
The impact of conceptual art on present art postcomceptualism
Conceptual art as an intangible cultural heritage
Common Points
Authorship and Technological Reproducibility
Idea defines the form: wide range of medium
NO object! NO market?
New Aesthetic to escape the Culture Industry
No myth, but truth
Participatory Aesthetic
The immaterialized work of art
Research Questions
What the aesthetic of art ought actually to be?
How should art reflect society?
How should it constitute a critique of society?
How should it predict an ideal, emergent, utopian society?
What are the ethical aspects of treating the heritage of conceptual art? (on the level of institution, market, producer)
What kind of new strategies can be found to escape cultural industry based on the "conceptual tradition"?
What is the new content added by repetition, reproduction or appropriation?
Research Method
Deductive Approach
testing theory through observation and data anno and now
Exploratory Study
Purposive, self-selection sampling
in-depth interviews with rollers of the art world
Working group
Self-completion DIARY
tracking issues and changes in the research
Final product: zine/conference
Sampling strategies
To be continued!
Thanks for your attention!


Conceptual Art And Its Posterities In Context Of Post-Marxist Theories

Time and Theory Frame

Conceptual art and critical theory at the age of the first Frankfurt School emigrated to the States
Postconceptual art, the ontologically modified image at the age of information and after 9/11

Topic description

Common points
Research questions
Research method
Sampling strategy
Time frame
Scope of research


Sinae Yoo
This is the premier of the multi-screen video work Tidymess, Sinae Yoo's total installation transforms the abandoned space of the Gallery iS OiSi into a subversive environment of vertiginous visual fragments and weird sound flow.
Sinae Yoo recently focuses on the subject of materiality in the digital moving image. Her work draws attention to the coherence of perceptions by showing semi-familiar icons in a computer generated floating space. The site-specific adaptation was made in collaboration with gifted friends. We truly hope it will be as much fun to perceive as it was to create.
Lawrence Weiner vs. Gergely Eörtzen Nagy
As Far as the Eye Can See, 1988, installation at the Kölnischer Kunstverein

As Far as the Camera Can See, 2014, installation at Kiskunság, Hungary
Robert Smithson vs. Tacita Dean
Art And The Postconceptual Condition
Friday 9 May 2014, CREMP, University of Paris 8
Quick scan of literature
CA theory
Tony Godfrey, Conceptual Art, Phaidon, 1998.
Sol le Witt, ‘Paragraphs on Conceptual Art’, Artforum, June 1967.
Lucy Lippard, Six Years: The Dematerialization of the Art Object from 1966 to 1972, university of California Press, 1997. [Orig. 1973].
Henry Flynt, ‘Essay: Concept Art.’ in An Anthology of Chance Operations, la Monte
Young and Marion Zazeela (eds.), 1963. [http://www.ubu.com/historical/young/ AnAnthologyOfChanceOperations.pdf].
Robert Barry in Meyer, ‘Conversation with Robert Barry’, 12 October 1969. see [www.ubu.com/papers/barry_interview.html]. Kristine stiles and Peter selz (eds.), Theories and Documents of Contemporary Art: A Sourcebook of Artists’ Writings. university of California Press, 1995
Michael Corris: Inside a new york art gang: selected documents of art & language, NY, The Artist Out of Work, 1999
David Harvey, The Condition of Postmodernity

Critical Theory
mix landscape and time in the same frame
absent of human presence only footprint
What happens when a more intimate, thoughtful, and enduring understanding comes from the background tale and historical context, rather than from a direct experience of the work?
Conceptualism’s historical dependence on documents and records

Authorship and Technological Reproducibility


Tacita Dean: JG
35 mm color and black and white anamorphic film with optical sound, 26’30”, 2013

Film of residence against narrative conventions – “counter-production”
Contemplative visual experience
Focus on details
Strong personal aspect

New Aesthetic to escape the Culture Industry

“treat it as a mystery that your film will solve”

J.G. Ballard in a letter to Tacita Dean dated 4 December 2007

No myth, but truth

Spiral Jetty is the courtesy of DIA Foundation
JG has been commissioned by the Arcadia university Gallery of Art and funded by the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.
The proof of evolution of the film as an artistic medium since the ‘70s.

NO object! NO market?

Dean’s invention of aperture gate masking, which she developed for FILM, her 2011 project for Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall. This technique involves exposing a variety of forms within a single frame. 

“Exposing light through the aperture gate is what makes the frame on film which, of course, is otherwise blank. So by masking inside the aperture, you can make different shapes, almost like stencilling” Dean

Idea defines the form:
wide range of medium

Comparative Analyzes

Robert Smithson: Spiral Jetty, 1970
Tacita Dean: PG, 2013

J.G. Ballard:
The Voices of Time

Robert Smithson:
Spiral Jetty
land art work,
both 1970

David Joselit (City University of New York), Peter Osborne (CRMEP)
concept of information
concept of image ontologically modified, mediator between idea and aesthetic
Adorno, Theodor W., "Cultural Criticism and Society" (1951) in Prisms. Trans. Samuel and Shierry Weber. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1967 p. 22.
Adorno, Theodor W., Aesthetic Theory. New York: Continuum, 1997
Adorno, Theodor W., Negative Dialectics. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Verlag, 1997
Ridless, Robin. Ideology and Art, Theories of Mass Culture from Walter Benjamin to Umberto Eco, New York, Peter Lang, 1984


The main objective of the paper is to identify the relation between the conceptual movement and certain post-marxist theories, such as the Frankfurt School, particularly Walter Benjamin’s and Theodor W. Adorno’s philosophical thoughts. Both theory and practice in the late 1960s put the status of the object and traditional notions of artistic production up for negotiation. Conceptual art rapidly became widespread, flourishing globally and created a value on the art market even though it tried to escape from the commodification by eliminating or underplaying the role of a collectable art ‘object’.
The immateriality of conceptual art has profound influence on contemporary artistic practices, furthermore it poses numerous challenges to the art world, constituting presentation, collection and preservation. This research meant to monitor and raise philosophical, ethical as well as practical issues regarding the reaprropriation and maintenance of this particular form of intangible cultural heritage.

What is the Frankfurt School?

The Frankfurt School, also known as the Institute of Social Research (Institut für Sozialforschung), is a social and political philosophical movement of thought located in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. It is the original source of what is known as Critical Theory. The Institute was founded– thanks to a donation by Felix Weil in 1923– with the aim of developing Marxist studies in Germany. The Institute eventually generated a specific, interdisciplinary school of thought after 1933 when the Nazis forced it to close and move to the United States, where it found hospitality at Columbia University, New York. The Frankfurt School was a social science and cultural intellectual hub for promoting socialism and overthrowing capitalism. It was responsible for the creation of the philosophical form called critical theory, which takes the stand that oppression is created through politics, economics, culture, and materialism, but is maintained most significantly through consciousness. Therefore the focus of action must come from consciousness. The Institute of Social Research deviated from orthodox Marxism in its argument that social and cultural factors played as important a role as economics in oppression. Some of the most prominent figures of the first generation of Critical Theorists are Max Horkheimer (1895-1973), Theodor Adorno (1903-1969), Herbert Marcuse (1898-1979) and Walter Benjamin (1892-1940).

What is Conceptual Art?

On a strict historical reading, the expression ‘conceptual art’ refers to the artistic movement that reached its pinnacle between 1966 and 1972 (Lippard 1973). Amongst its most famous adherents at its early stage we find artists such as Joseph Kosuth, Robert Morris, Joseph Beuys and On Kawara, to name but a few. What unites all conceptual art of that period is the absorption of the lessons learnt from other twentieth-century art movements such as Dadaism, Surrealism, Suprematism and the Fluxus movement, not to mention the attempt to once and for all ‘free’ art of the Modernist paradigm. Conceptual art has emerged in correlation with minimal art parallel to pop art and in contradiction to Greenbergian aesthetics (abstract expressionism). Most importantly, perhaps, conceptual art sought to overcome a backdrop against which art's principal aim is to produce something beautiful or aesthetically pleasing. Art, early conceptual artists held, is redundant if it does not make us think. Yet most artistic institutions are not conducive to reflection and continue to promote a consumerist conception of art and artists based on beauty and technical skill and this, conceptual artists in the mid-1960s to the early 1970s agreed, must be denounced. The job of conceptual artists is instead to encourage a revisionary understanding of art, artist, and artistic experience.
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