Afterall Issue 36 – Borders of the Art World
Laboratoire AGIT’art and Tenq
Enquiry on the/our outside
Afterall is pleased to present issue 36, summer 2014, which features artists and artistic collectives that question the borders of the art world or exploit other possibilities within it. Within a homogenizing art world, how do you find a ‘without’ or a productive point of difference?
Clémentine Deliss looks at the collectives Laboratoire AGIT’art and Tenq that emerged in Dakar, Senegal in the 1990s, and which undermined common assumptions about the distribution of cultural capital and knowledge between perceived centers and peripheries. Writing a subjective history of these activities, she asks how groups who wanted to be only partially known can be fully historicized.
K.P. Krishnakumar was the lead artist in the Indian Radical Painters and Sculptors Association, a collective which tried to marry art and politics and look for a way for Indian artists to be part of the global art world without having to represent their national or regional identity. Anita Dube, who was a member of the group, writes on the tragic hero that Krishnakumar became, while Shanay Jhaveri discusses the collective’s impact within Indian art history.
Often showing Turkish women in elaborate camouflage, Nilbar Güreș‘s photographs, drawings, collages and videos also reflect upon questions of cultural identity. Mihnea Mircan argues that she is one of a number of artists who are shifting the notion of identity to one that exists between the margins, blurred in transit, while Lara Fresko considers the artist’s representation of identity within a globalized framework.
Louise O’Hare discusses Andrea Büttner‘s appropriated images of mentally handicapped boys looking at HAP Grieshaber’s woodcuts to elaborate a theory of embarrassment as integral to the condition of viewing art. The social and political uses of art are also examined in Emma Hedditch‘s study of Carla Zaccagnini‘s artist’s book, which explores the Suffragette’s campaign to destroy paintings and art objects.
This notion of an internal hostility to art systems and classic standards of aesthetic criteria is picked up in Alejandra Riera‘s collective projects, for which she renounces any authorship. Her ongoing investigation Enquête sure le/notre dehors (Enquiry on the/our outside), as Peter Pál Pelbart and Muriel Combes write, explores what constitutes the borders of our society—what we relegate, for example, to the peripheries of city centres or outside of sanity.
Already occupying a comfortable position in contemporary art history, Panamarenko defied the parameters within which the art world operates when he decided to retire from artmaking in 2005. As Hans Theys and Jeremy Millar remind us, working mostly in the solitude of his studio in Antwerp, Panamarenko has queried authoritative forms of knowledge through the building of impossible machines.
Finally, in their discussion of the actual experience of living and working in the art world, Zachary Cahill and Philip von Zweck address how artists—whom they dub ‘double agents’—live between structures, seeking to put their day jobs in art institutions at the service of their artistic ‘night job.’
This summer Afterall Books will present the fifth publication in its “Exhibition Histories” series, Exhibition as Social Intervention: ‘Culture in Action’ 1993, as well as the “One Work” title Thomas Hirschhorn: Deleuze Monument by Anna Dezeuze. On 18 October, Hirschhorn will be in conversation with Dezeuze at the Platform Theatre, Central Saint Martins, to launch the book. The next guest in our “Exhibition Histories” Talks series, co-organised with the Whitechapel Gallery, London, is curator Helmut Draxler, who will be in conversation with Helena Vilalta on 18 September.
Afterall journal is published by Central Saint Martins, London, in editorial partnership with M HKA, Antwerp, and the Smart Museum of Art and DOVA OPC, University of Chicago, in collaboration with UNIA arteypensamiento, Seville, and in association with the University of Chicago Press.