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Understanding the archival turn in contemporary art

Art + archive: Understanding the archival turn in contemporary art examines the meaning and function of the notion of the archive in art writing and artistic practices c. 1995–2015. The book takes on one of the most persistent buzzwords in the international artworld, adding nuance and context to a much-discussed but under-analysed topic.

The study’s first part outlines key texts about archive art, the interdisciplinary theories these build on, and the specific meaning the archive comes to have when it is brought into the artworld. The second part examines the archive art phenomenon in relation to materiality, research, critique, curating and temporality. Instead of approaching the archive as an already defined conceptual tool for analysing art, the book rethinks the so-called archival turn, showing how the archive is used to point to, theorise and make sense of a number of different conditions and concerns deemed to be urgent and important at the turn of the twenty-first century. These include the far-reaching implications of technological changes; the prevalence of different forms of critique of normative structures; changes to the view of the art object; and the increasing academicisation of artistic practices. This book shows that the archive is adaptable and elastic, but that it is also loaded with a great deal of theoretical baggage. It clarifies why, how and with what consequences the archive is referenced and mobilised by contemporary artists and art writers.

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Clare Wilkinson
Emma Weitkamp

Despite C.P. Snow’s framing of the arts and science as two cultures with little common ground, art, science and technology have long been bedfellows (Snow, 1993 ). Advances in science and technology have stimulated developments in the arts as well as acting as inspiration for cultural activities, and visual techniques from the arts have been used to inform and facilitate research across a broad range of disciplines. From Brunelleschi’s early work on perspective, through to the modern day, examples of cross ‘cultural’ impact abound, with artists exploring

in Creative research communication
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Anna Dahlgren

Imposter art This chapter deals with artworks that have migrated from the context of the art world to those of the law and news, literally from the gallery to the courtroom and the pages of the daily press. Artworks that cross legal boundaries and are judged as illegal acts or objects are illuminating examples of how the notion of art is continuously negotiated by different agents in different contexts. This chapter seeks to discuss news media as one such agent and context. Historically, there have been many instances where the notion of art has been negotiated

in Travelling images
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Anna Dahlgren

3 Magazined art The relationship between art and fashion has never been clear cut, but has rather been characterized by a complex interrelationship mainly due to the latter’s ‘intermediate position between the artistic field and the economic field’.1 Throughout the history of fashion photography there has been an exchange of aesthetics between visual art and fashion imagery, as pointed out by Charlotte Andersen among others.2 Moreover, a number of photographers have managed to establish themselves as artists and fashion photographers simultaneously, such as

in Travelling images
The politics of trans/nationalism and global expositions

Staging art and Chineseness is about the politics of borders ascribed to Chinese contemporary art and the identification of artists by locations and exhibitions. The paradoxical subject of Chineseness is central to this inquiry, which begins with the question, what does the term Chinese Art mean in the aftermath of the globalized shift in art? Through an exploration of embodied and performative representations (including eco-feminist performances) by artists from China and diasporic locations, the case studies in this book put to the test the very premise of the genealogical inscription for cultural objects attributed to the residency, homeland, or citizenship of the Chinese artist. Acknowledging the orientalist assumptions and appropriations that Chineseness also signifies, this study connects the artistic performance to the greater historical scope of ‘geographical consciousness’ envisioned by past and present global expositions. The emergence of China’s shiyan meishu experimental art movement in the 1980s–1990s has largely been the defining focus for ‘global art’ during the period when artfairs, biennials, and triennials also came into prominence as the new globalized art institution (exemplified by China’s first biennial in Guangzhou). The political aim is to recognize the multiple contradictions and repetitions of history engendered by art, nationalism, and capital in the legacy of Althusserian/Maoist interpellations – the reifications of global capitalist illusions in the twenty-first century are conveyed in this book by performative artistic expressions and the temporal space of the exposition.

Contemporary Asian contexts
Authors: and

Contemporary Asian art has had a remarkable impact on global art practice, and simultaneously has produced an enduring record of the history of that region from the moment of decolonisation to the present. Many artists in the region have a deep concern about what it means to be human and to contribute to the development of a better future for their communities as well as having a sustained commitment to making art. This book, written at the start of the ‘Asian century’, focuses on the contexts and conditions which have helped to shape both art practice, and postcolonial society, in the region. Using case studies of selected artists, it discusses their work in relation to issues of human rights, social and environmental wellbeing, and creativity and is one of the first surveys of these issues in contemporary Asian art. It is an important contribution to studies of contemporary Asian art and art history.

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Revisioning the borders of community

Art and migration: revisioning the borders of community is a collective response to current and historic constructs of migration as disruptive of national heritage. This interplay of academic essays and art professionals’ interviews investigates how the visual arts – especially by or about migrants – create points of encounter between individuals, places, and objects. Migration has increasingly taken centre stage in contemporary art, as artists claim migration as a paradigm of artistic creation. The myriad trajectories of transnational artworks and artists’ careers outlined in the volume are reflected in the density and dynamism of fairs and biennales, itinerant museum exhibitions and shifting art centres. It analyses the vested political interests of migration terminology such as the synonymous use of ‘refugees’ and ‘asylum seekers’ or the politically constructed use of ‘diaspora’. Political and cultural narratives frame globalisation as a recent shift that reverses centuries of cultural homogeneity. Art historians and migration scholars are engaged in revisioning these narratives, with terms and methodologies shared by both fields. Both disciplines are elaborating an histoire croisée of the circulation of art that denounces the structural power of constructed borders and cultural gatekeeping, and this volume reappraises the historic formation of national identities and aesthetics heritage as constructed under transnational visual influences. This resonates with migrant artists’ own demands for self-determination in a display space that too often favours canonicity over hybridity. Centring migration – often silenced by normative archives or by nationalist attribution practices – is part of the workload of revisioning art history and decolonising museums.

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Transcultural identities and art-making in a globalised world

Migration, understood as the movement of people and cultures, gives impetus to globalisation and the transculturation processes that the interaction between people and cultures entails. This book addresses migration as a profoundly transforming force that has remodelled artistic and art institutional practices across the world. It explores contemporary art's critical engagement with migration and globalisation as a key source for improving our understanding of how these processes transform identities, cultures, institutions and geopolitics. The book also explores three interwoven issues of enduring interest: identity and belonging, institutional visibility and recognition of migrant artists, and the interrelations between aesthetics and politics, and its representations of forced migration. Transculturality indicates a certain quality (of an idea, an object, a self-perception or way of living) which joins a variety of elements indistinguishable as separate sources. The topic of migration is permeated not only with political but also with ethical urgencies. The most telling sign of how profoundly the mobility turn has affected the visual arts is perhaps the spread of the term global art in the discourses on art, where it is often used as a synonym for internationally circulating contemporary art. The book examines interventions by three artists who take a critical de- and postcolonial approach to the institutional structures and spaces of Western museums. The book also looks at the politics of representation, and particularly the question of how aesthetics, politics and ethics can be triangulated and balanced when artists seek to make visible the conditions of irregular migration.

Jared Pappas-Kelley

2 Art and permeable moments It is key to step back and look at this impulse within art and its relation to destruction—which triggers a volatility in the art object—and also what it might entail, to better understand the deed of art. Art is a slippery thing, and when we begin looking at what exactly it “does” or is for, it becomes increasingly more so—as Virilio says of the “image” or the “visual,” it appears as “a portmanteau word: they put into it whatever they wanted.”1 In this sense, looking for a definition, art devolves into the indistinct and overeager

in Solvent form
Richard S. Field

Despite the obvious allusion to Sol LeWitt's 1969 ‘Sentences on Conceptual Art,’ the following does not privilege idea over execution. Quite the contrary, it is an attempt to equate the contradictory attitudes we hold toward prints and to explore the opposites I believe are encoded in printmaking. What I owe to LeWitt's art and prose, most

in Perspectives on contemporary printmaking