What is the historicity of glasses

Heterogeneity of a global (ized) art?

Eva Kernbauer (ed.), Art History. Historicity and anachrony in contemporary art, Wilhelm Fink Verlag, Munich 2015.

It has recently been repeatedly stated that history is an important thematic subject of contemporary artistic debate. [1] The present conference volume has set itself the goal of pursuing the preoccupation of contemporary art with art history, for which the neologism of "art historicity" is coined. Once again, this context also serves to address the question of what is contemporary in contemporary art, which, as will be shown, is in dialogue with the one after its history in a variety of ways.

The first German translation ofJacques Rancières The concept of anachronism and the truth of the historian. In his usual destructive method, Rancière outlines a critical genealogy of the science of history. At the start of Plato's division of the world into being and becoming, and that means into knowledge (de) and belief (de), historical science develops a positivistic concept of truth, which is considered to be anachronism as the greatest sin. As a result of the increasing rationalization of the subject in the 18th and 19th centuries, this term finally established a truth regime as "super-present", which prescribes a similarity with time, a co-presence of the present: It becomes such a relationship established by truth and time, which history advocates defend with poetic and rhetorical means. The concept ofAnachronicintroduces Rancière as an emancipatory rebellion against this time regime: precisely in leaving the ideologically homogenized time that separates the possible from the impossible, he sees the potential as well as the condition for making leaps,Making historyMaria Muhle argues afterwards with"Division of Times" - The Anachrony of History for the fact that Rancière's conception of time is fundamental to his theorem of the “division of the sensual”. Politics, that is, the “police order” of “places and roles”, of “shares in common”, has grown historically, but is fixed by the truth regime of the time and is therefore a spatialization of the temporal. Like politics, history takes place as an interruption in the “harmonious” division of the sensual.

Eric C. H. de Bruyn interpreted in this sense inThe holographic window and other real anachronismsholography as a dystopian realization of the posthistorical, from which everything anachronic has been erased. If, according to Panofsky, the window-shaped perspective image model establishes a distance to the world, an intellectual distance between the present and the past, a historical awareness, the “holographic window” cancels this distance. New, so-called, work in this directioninstrumental images, such as 3D glasses or models generated by a 3D scanner: the perspective frame is deleted and the image becomes a model of reality. According to de Bruyn with Paolo Virno, something similar happens in the post-Fordist period, when the historically conditioned wealth is that asformal anachronism always stands in difference to actual action, is reified: in this feedback of the faculty to reality, something arisesreal anachronism, in which we "all become epigones [...] of our own future potential." Ultimately, it is about strategies that work against this post-historical time. For example, highlighting the intrinsic historicity of things, as Hito Steyerl does in “In Free Fall”, the “Biography of an Object”. In such a “language of things” the object eludes the “holographic bell” because it becomes an active agent, which could thus have the potential to change social conditions.Antonia von SchöningsArcheology of the future. On the draft of historicity in Walid Raad's "Scratching on Things I Could Disavow - A History of Art in the Arab World" in a similar sense calls for the generation of a distance to the present, which she sees realized in Walid Raad's work. A “therapeutic distance” from the hegemony of western modernism, established by him in poetic transformations, enables an optic that gives contemporary Arab art, for example, scope. Also seesDavid Joselit inAbout aggregators a threatening glare from the “spectacular immediacy” in contemporary art, which hides global inequalities and non-simultaneities. As an antidote, he calls for the establishment of an “international style”, where different “local dialects” can be brought together in so-called aggregators under a common style term. Joselit is particularly against an avant-garde belief in progress, which sees itself as a constant break. In these aggregators, collectives that retain their heterogeneity and asynchronicity could form.Helmut Draxler developed inBeyond the moment: history, criticism and contemporary arta kind of ontological structure determination of such a critical distance. A historical reappraisal of the present category, which shows itself to convey the past and future, leads Draxler to its conception as a crack. The criticism to which the form of the assertion belongs is “nested” in this crack - as a movement towards demarcation against tradition. This results in the present as a constant dispute. This form ofconfrontation constitutes contemporary art, the criteria of which therefore cannot be justified externally: the conveyance of history, criticism and art shows their constitutive autonomy.Werner Busch shows inThe past never becomes the present again. To make quoted art alienthe beginning of such a critical reference to the past in art in the dawning of modernity. As the idealistic idea of ​​divine unity was "replaced by an intrusion of the concept of time", the question of the self-defining historical relationship arose. Joshua Reynolds' theoretical position on the citation of art is paradigmatic for this upheaval. Reynolds argues in favor of a syncretistic citation process, since artistic invention is always based on art: “Nothing can come from nothing.” In addition, the continuation of tradition is the legitimation condition of authorship.

On the basis of specific works, the mutually constitutive entanglement of art history and contemporary art in conceptual works of the post-war period will be negotiated further. Sabeth Buchmann examined inHistory on trial art historical narratives in conceptual works since the 1970s. In contrast to the intended break with a “natural history of modernity” in the 1960s, which was gathered in a present-day assertion of a here and now, as well as the future experiments of the avant-garde, an artistic practice arose in the 1980s and 1990s that uses methods of memory , memory and archive. This shows a heterogeneity in the relationship between art and history, which makes the concept of the contemporary itself anachronistic. Using works by On Kawara, Félix González-Torres, Tom Burr and Danh Vo, Buchmann shows how conceptual works recapitulate object sequences by narrowing down “life as a tense”. In such historical sequences or tableaus, which are charged with biographical time, identity-constituting, biopolitically effective (art) historical narratives, models of authorship and artistic identity are denatured.Kerstin Stakemeiers ContributionMedia portraits. Equivalence, Subjectification, and Postmodernism deals with the shift in the conception of freedom of (and from) art in the transition from late modern to postmodern, a dispute that art-historical canonization has systematically ignored. The radical commodification of art in the 1980s had called the modernist claim to freedom into question, so that artists looked for new ways to subject the artistic form. Strategies to make artistic media “specific against their commodity form” were developed, for example by Kathy Acker “Cut-Ups and Cut-Ins (in) the found culture”. Expropriation and appropriation in favor of resubjectivation form the counter-concept to the persistent idea of ​​“genuine artistic imagination” in the “late modernist battle of retreat”. InChrista Blümlingers ContributionFilm as the art of passages. Apichatpong Weerasethakul's Variations on "Boonmee" the problem of a story of the film forms the starting point. Due to the "variability of the film object", theone Film history are spoken. It is precisely in this that Rancière recognizes a revolutionary potential, as the medium in this intangibility of its demand for fiction, theDissent in favor of a reorganization of the sensual. Blümlinger sees a “hybridity of the 'life of forms” ”in Weerasethakul's works, in which“ work on dissent ”is carried out in a transgressive mediality. Negotiated on the basis of Paulina Olowska's reference to the largely unknown Polish artist Zofia StryjeńskaVera run WithTradition of innovation. Genealogies of Modernity by Paulina Olowskathe relationship between contemporary art and art history using a selected example. Olowska introduces distancing perspectives into the act of appropriation. The generated subjectivation, an artistic 'home' and a line of tradition, which lies in the staging of its model, is broken and allows art history and contemporary art to affect one another in a kind of horizon merging. The “comparative perspective” of “presentation patterns, aesthetics and techniques” results in a “re-evaluation of the logics” of making art and artistic creativity.Beatrice von BismarcksFinally, the article deals with the historicity of exhibitions.The devil wears historicity or in the look of provocation: When Attitudes Become Form - Bern 1969 / Venice 2013 is dedicated to Harald Szeemann's epoch-making exhibition and its “reenactment” at the Fondazione Prada 2013. The claim to a reconstruction that is as “true to the original” as possible allows the exhibition itself to congeal into the material index of the contemporary art world in this immediacy - the lack of critical reflection. The resulting contrast to the original “show” shows the historical transformation of the art scene, the “capitalization of subjectivity”, in which artists, for example, have become “role models of the post-Fordist world of work”. The conceptual orientation of the original exhibition, which Szeemann specifically used against suitability for trade, is now twisted into a place where the participants “showcase their economic and symbolic increase in value”, in which it is only a “business with visibility sponsored by Prada “Goes.

The question of the connection between art history and contemporary art seems interesting and topical on several levels. For example, it stands to reason that contemporary art that explicitly deals with the theme of history also reflects its own historicity. If this now shows itself as a historical and ideological construction, how can the reference to individual positions be legitimized? Instead of a complete rejection of (historical) context, which could also follow from this statement, the volume presents various strategies of art-historical reference, in which topicality is created by means of anachronic knots. On the other hand, in the context of a present that takes the form of a homogenized spectacle, specific strategies for the construction of distances are necessary. And not only in order to create historical difference in the first place, but also in order to make the anachronic potential of the past available to the present to create heterogeneity. The question of models of authorship, which takes shape especially in the dichotomy between modernist and postmodernist forms of work, in turn provides a productive impetus for dealing with post-Fordist subjectivity constellations of the present and the problems of contemporary art production.

The expertise of the assembled authors is noticeably concentrated on the post-modern era: Modernism, which is almost a universal speaker for “art historicity”, is nowhere specifically called, but only by means of general terms: Basically, the modernist, constructive utopia is played off against the post-structuralist deconstruction. The perspective of a phenomenologically oriented art history is compared to that of Michael Fried inArt and Objecthood reduced and subsequently excluded. Although - as Fried's work on the 19th century shows - such a concept of experience represents an interesting addition as it could have brought about a stronger grounding in the material inventory. The aesthetic would also exist in a form of the non-discursive, as demonstrated by Rancière's category of dissent: the experience of (anachronic) alterity, which cannot simply be subsumed under terms, has an essential support in the aesthetic. The focus on post-conceptual positions seems to make such an approach at least more difficult, as such positions mostly rely on the discursive nature of events and experiences.

A tendency towards the idealistic, which is already in Rancière's listing of the anachronic, is adopted by most of the authors: The revolutionary cover should be motivated by intellectual work - that is, in "thought leaps", as Rancière could be formulated. A materialistic analysis of the formation of the canon is completely lacking; the artistic positions discussed in the volume are almost exclusively taken from the upper segment of a global art market. The anachronic reconfigurations in favor of a heterogeneous art history with all their consequences, e.g. for structures of subjectivity and authorship, run the risk of remaining in the status of merely superstructural syntheses, while the subterranean control mechanisms simply lie with the market. In addition to the anticipatory history of discourse, this also seems to indicate a pre-reflective synchronization by capital. On the other hand, Rancière's conception of the anachronic and the “division of the sensual” seems to beby definition situated in conflict with an established international art as it is institutionally positioned today. Ultimately, it could be discussed whether in times of decentralization and multipolarization - while it turns out that the transnational utopias are and have been misused as masquerades for hegemonic market-economy strategies - in the desire forone “Global art” (as Joselit's suggestion of an “international style” suggests) is not itself a regressive anachronism that remains committed to the political and technological status of the late 20th century and only to thatalliance with global capital. One of the conclusions to be drawn from reading the publication from the anachronic coupling of modernism and postmodernism could therefore be the insight that the critical discourse needs concretely localized, constructivist production arms, alterityproduce (and no post-contemporary speculation), just as economic policy - and that would be an anachronism in economic history - needs a new “New Deal” (and no speculative strategies from central banks).


[1] Cf. for example: Yilmaz Dziewior (ed.), Whose story. Past in the Art of the Present, Texts on Art, No. 76, Cologne 2009.

Oliver Caraco studied art history and philosophy in Basel and is currently working on his dissertation on the graphic works of Edouard Manet as part of the graduate school of eikones, NFS Bildkritik in Basel.
This article appears in the category Issue 11, Book Reviews and is tagged contemporary art, historicity. Permalink.