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Understanding the archival turn in contemporary art
Author: Sara Callahan

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.

Marta Iñiguez de Heredia

of the 1996 war and the ones that followed, based on the neoliberal reconstruction of the state, have not returned to the 1960s development policies where investment was channelled largely through the state (Moyo 2009: 14–5). They have furthered a policy of private investment, which has deepened forms of private governance and shared sovereignty, weakening rather than strengthening the state (Abrahamsen and Williams 2009; Hönke 2010). The coming of new players like China and India has also meant that regimes such as the DRC have been able to bypass much of the

in Everyday resistance, peacebuilding and state-making
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Sara Callahan

resonant in a later time’; the latter on the other hand, ‘is something we do ’, and when we carry out such acts of return we ‘locate ourselves in relation to a past that feels urgently present’ (Meyer, The Art of Return , p. 30). When artists such as Koester and Maranda (and Tacita Dean and Renée Green and others) return to the 1960s, it is a question of a ‘return to’ an act of recall, of bringing back, but they do so because of the ‘return of’, the resonance, reverberation and relevance of the 1960s for their own art practice

in Art + Archive
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Sara Callahan

practice of returning to works from that era is therefore a reference both to the concrete material archive and the metaphoric notion of the archive as immaterial structure – the 1960s as an ‘international style’. Related to this is the idea that a return to the 1960s by various artists need not be understood primarily as a reference to an art historical past ; instead, I posit that this particular past (the symbolic moment of the long 1960s) is highlighted as an archival structure rooted in a referential and extended present

in Art + Archive
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Amy Bryzgel

Returning to the 1960s and OHO, which underwent various transformations throughout its existence, the group had its origins in the newspaper created by Iztok Geister (b. 1945) and Marko Pogačnik, while in high school in Kranj, entitled Plamenica . In their first publication, the writers ambitiously called for a ‘violation of the suffocating peace commanding our society’, a ‘ripping up the membranes inflicted by our environment and upbringing’, and a ‘revelation of the sources of truth’. 56 According to the Slovenian curator and theorist Igor Zabel, this was not a

in Performance art in Eastern Europe since 1960