Abstract This article examines changes in curatorial practice using a comparison between the 52nd Venice Biennale, 2007, and Documenta 12, 2007, as its point of departure. Through a reading of Manuel Delanda’s theory of ‘assemblages’ it detects a tendency to offer constellations of works rather than collections of individual art pieces presented as self‐sufficient aesthetic entities. It argues that progressive exhibitions now tend to orchestrate complex meanings and affects through the adroit juxtapositioning of works even at the price of subordinating authorial intent and the autonomy of discrete works. It suggests, further, that art exhibitions, conceived of as ‘assemblages’, offer a fertile forum for the presentation of complex and subtle transnational cultural connections that may otherwise be too easily overlooked.
Abstract This article explores the trajectory of Hélio Oiticica’s commitment to the notion of the constructive, from his early career to the aftermath of his 1967 work Tropicália. It addresses Oiticica’s particular way of dealing with the modernist legacy in the ever‐changing Brazilian cultural context, especially after the breakdown of the concretist and neoconcretist avant‐gardes in the early 1960s. The argument is staked on a side‐by‐side examination of works and writings by the artist, and the constructive is eventually understood as a conceptual threshold which the artist simultaneously retains and transforms, so as to account for the growing need to negotiate historical and ethico‐political demands within the context of the growing complexity of his work.
Abstract Gerard Sekoto (1913–1993), one of the pioneers of African Modernism, left South Africa in 1947 to further his art training in France and engage with the School of Paris that had been so influential in the development of South African Modern art. Having managed to overcome the colour bar in a society that was racially divided well before the advent of Apartheid, Sekoto found himself alienated in post‐war Paris. A Black African with no command of the French language, stumbling against the Euro‐centrism of the Parisian art scene, he found a sense of community with the French‐speaking African and Caribbean Diaspora rallied behind the concept of Negritude. Drawing on written resources and testimonies from Sekoto’s friends, this essay investigates the painter’s relation to Négritude from a French/Diaspora perspective and proposes to examine the contrasting responses of Sekoto and his mentor Ernest Mancoba to this movement.
Abstract Reconsidering the Situationist texts, mainly Guy Debord’s Society of the Spectacle, this article attempts to produce distinctions between the spectacle, the speculative and the ‘spectile’ via a reading of Deleuzian insistence that immanence should be created. Zigzagging between the texts of Sarah Kane and Sevim Burak, we suggest the urgency of ‘the spectile’ within the Deleuzian concept of ‘becoming‐woman’ if an immanence, including both arts and art criticism, is not to yield to a transcending transcendental; if criticism is to produce an immanence that is only immanent to itself.
Abstract Edited in Paris between 1967 and 1971 by the art critic Jean Clay and the visual poet Julien Blaine, Robho magazine introduced an international view of art. The magazine aimed to shed light on institutional critique and cultural resistance to American‐style capitalist expansion. To this end Robho included a significant number of Latin American artists. With graphic design by Carlos Cruz‐Diez, many of the magazine’s central articles were devoted to Madi art, Jesús Rafael Soto, Julio Le Parc, Lygia Clark and the Argentine collective experience Tucumán Arde. If the aforementioned artists were neither political exiles nor guerrilla fighters it may be thought, though, that being Latin American carried particular connotations within the context of the crisis of French modernisation in the 1960s, related to the imaginary of the Third World. This article aims to analyse Robho magazine’s selection and interpretation of the work of Latin American artists during this period dominated by the events of May 1968 and the mistrust towards representativity.
Abstract The article will explore how two filmic artefacts from the Balkans, Emir Kusturica’s Life Is a Miracle (2004) and Danis Tanovič’s No Man’s Land (2001), respond to the identity politics underlying traditional Balkanist discourse and its latest version reinvigorated by the 1990s conflicts in the region. It argues that the two films analyse the destructive impact of ethnocentric macropolitics on local forms of community affiliation and offer instead examples of micropolitical agency that are absurd and embodied, dangerously anti‐identitarian and non‐partisan. Condemning the universalism and essentialism of Balkanist othering, frequently employed by the culture industries (and mass media in particular), No Man’s Land and Life Is a Miracle recognise the power of identitarianism and the inevitable complicity of artistic representations in such discursive practices. Nonetheless, each of them attempts to forge its own sympathetic way of conveying that which others have decided to demonise or sentimentalise.
Abstract Cinematic representations of Indian poverty have been by and large open to allegations of aestheticising and showcasing squalor for artistic and/or commercial purposes. The purpose of this article is not to reiterate these in relation to Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire, but to attempt a critical analysis of the film that reaches beyond the supposedly romanticised images of photogenic and picturesque poverty themselves to scrutinise the modes of circulation of these representations in the field of cultural production, as well as their role in enhancing the processes of an ever‐increasing consumption of India‐related images. Against Salman Rushdie and Arundhati Roy’s unfavourable readings of Slumdog Millionaire, this article concludes by considering whether it might be possible to discern a self‐ironic stance towards representations of the so‐called ‘real India’ in Boyle’s incorporation of Bollywood staple techniques and motifs into his film, in particular in the closing scene.
Abstract The failure of the Western media to open a public forum to the modern history of Palestinian culture is among the tragedies of the ongoing conflict. The publication of the artist Kamal Boullata’s scholarly book is the first comprehensive anglophone account of what has been, and continues to be lost through Israel’s systematic Judaisation of the territory and eradication or appropriation of Arab heritage. Articulating aesthetic concerns with sociohistorical commentary, Boullata traces the complex, fractured pathways of Palestinian art from the rise of Arab modernism and nationalism during the dying days of Ottoman rule in the latter half of the twentieth century, through successive occupations under the British Mandate and Israel, to the diasporas created by the Nakba of 1948. Jerusalem and Beirut emerge as once thriving cosmopolitan cities, whose modernism was advanced by the mutual influences of Christian and Islamic traditions, and to which women artists continue to make a significant contribution.
The journal is published in print and online by Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.