Contemporary art often comes in conflict with the law. The project explores contemporary art that enacts conflicts between societal institutions and the individual. It focuses on the immateriality of the law contra the physical presence of the individual, and revolves around oppositions like text/body; language/existence; meaning/matter; sign/object.
Status: Completed (2010–2011)
Subjects: Art History and Visual Studies
Department: Department of Arts and Cultural Sciences
Contemporary art often comes in conflict with the law. The purpose of the project is to explore a tendency in contemporary art to enact an opposition between a rule-governed knowledge system, e.g. societal hierarchies and institutions like the media, the health care system, or the law, on the one hand, and the material or corporeal aspect of that knowledge system, on the other. The project revolves around an opposition that can be posited, a little simplified, as a number of antagonisms: text/body; language/existence; meaning/matter; sign/object.
One group of works that we will study portrays this problematics through a conflict between writing and body, in which the two are helplessly merging with each other, and yet remain explosively incompatible. Another group of works is based on conflicts between societal institutions and individuals. An example is a series of performances in which the Taiwanese-American artist Tehching Hsieh subjected himself to a strict and elemental limitation of his life, e.g. to continuously stay outdoors for a full year – which brought him in conflict with the law. Swedish examples include Lars Norén’s play Seven Three, from 1998, in which three prison inmates “acted” themselves and expressed anti-Semitic opinions from stage; or the art student Anna Odell’s work ”Unknown, woman 2009-349701”, from 2009, in which Odell feigned a psychosis and was taken into compulsory institutional care.
Content manager: Max Liljefors
Page content last modified 17 Oct 2012
Performing Crisis: Body and Authority in Contemporary Art
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