BORIS GROYS: The Topology of Contemporary Art PART 2: MULTIPLE MODERNITIES. 5. MONICA AMOR: On the Contingency of. Contemporary Art in Time” considers some examples, and conse- quences, of .. Cf. Boris Groys, “The Topology of Contemporary Art,” in Antinomies of Art. Synopsis: To understand the qualitative properties of “Contemporary Art”, the Author examines the interplay between Modern & Post-modern.

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Rather, modernist art can be characterized by its specific claim to be true — in a sense to be present, thoroughly visible, immediately revealed, or to use a Heideggerian term “unconcealed”. And that is why it is also truly political.

Because an installation is purely in the present — a product of the here and now — each installation is a different context which cannot be compared. You are commenting using your WordPress. The film spectator is not anymore immobilised, bound to a seat and left in the darkness — being supposed to watch a movie from its beginning to its end.

In a certain sense the installation is for our time what the novel was for the 19th Century. The installation is, above all, a socially codified variation of individual flaneurship as it was described by Benjamin, and therefore, a place for the aura, for “profane illumination.

We can even say that, under the condition of the modern museum, the newness of newly produced art is not established post factum-as a result of a comparison with old art. And that means that we have no outside position in relationship to the installation practice.

In their relationship to the outside space the same images and objects can be seen as revealing and at the same time concealing their status of being merely the items of the potentially infinite sequences of repetition and reproduction. The contemporary artistic installation has a goal to present the scene, the context, the strategy of this differentiation as it takes place here and now — that is why it can be called genuinely contemporary, indeed.

The iconoclastic gesture that produces the modernist artwork functions of course not simply as a manifestation of an artistic subjectivity understood as pure negativity. I really need more clarification I suppose before discussion. This site uses cookies. The iconoclastic images of destruction and reduction were destined to serve as the icons of the future.

That is also why post-modern art is able to look very new even if — or actually because — it is directed against the notion of the new. In this way through different contexts and media this film footage is transformed by different program languages, different softwares, different framings on the screen, different placement in an installation space, etc.


In the video installation where a video is moving in a loop the spectator may move about freely in the room and leave or return at any time.

Is it enough that the public simply goes by the assumption that an original exists somewhere, hidden away and protected, unless its aforementioned destruction does take place and is purposely made known?

The modern artwork is re-presented and re-cognized before it is produced. Whereas Modern artwork places itself within an infinite space, it is argued that the installation creates a closed context, automatically acknowledging outside objects and spaces through the inclusion within. And precisely this claim to truth was put in question by post-modernist criticism: An installation is a presentation of the present — of a decision that takes place here and now.

Should he or she stand still and allow the pictures to play before him as in a groyw theatre, or move further? The “loss of the aura” is described by Benjamin precisely as a loss of fixed, repetitive context of an artwork. Thus, the differentiation between old and new, repetitive and original, conservative and progressive, traditional and liberal is not just a differentiation among many others.

Indeed, Kierkegaard states that for a spectator who would be contemporary of Jesus Christ it was impossible to recognize in Christ a new God precisely because he didn’t look new — the figure of Christ groyx looked like that of every other ordinary human being at that historical yroys. That is why the installation is able to openly manifest the conflict between the presence of the images and objects inside a finite horizon of our immediate experience and their invisible, virtual, “absent” circulation in the space outside of this horizon — a conflict that defines the contemporary cultural practice.

And the original has an aura because it has a fixed context, a well defined place in toploogy, and through that particular place it is inscribed also in history as a singular, original object. Notify me of new comments via email.

In this sense, a copy is never really a copy — but rather always a new original in a new context. This paradoxical character of the Modern project was recognized and described by a number of the theoreticians and reflected on by many artists in the 60s and 70s. Benjamin’s answer to that question is, of course, tooology.


The Topology of Contemporary Art: Boris Groys

And more than that: These images and objects present themselves in a very immediate way. But they are unconcealed only as long as they are parts of this individual installation. By circulating through the different contexts a copy becomes a series of different originals.

The contemporary “contemporary art” privileges the present in respect to the future and to the past. When is a copy just a copy? Leave a Cohtemporary Cancel reply Enter your comment here And that means that all the objects placed in an installation are originals, even when — or precisely when — they circulate outside of the installation as copies.

This paradox arises because a postmodern artwork presents itself as merely an example of an infinite sequence of reproductions and repetitions. The traditional, mimetic artwork was subjected to the iconoclastic, destructive work of analysis and reduction.

The Topology of Contemporary Art: Boris Groys | alfredcrucible

So to rightly characterize the nature of contemporary art it seems to be necessary to situate it in its relationship to the Modern project and to its post-modern reevaluation.

Artworks in an installation are originals for one simple topological reason: A certain film footage can be shown in a cinema theater, then converted to a digital form and appear on somebody’s web site, or be shown during a conference as an illustration, or watched privately on a TV — screen in a person’s living room, or put in a context of a museum installation.

The infinite is, on the contrary, not open because it has no outside.

And he insists on the permanent visual recognizability, on the self-identity of a copy as it circulates in our contemporary culture. In the framework of contemporary culture an image is permanently circulating from one medium to another medium, and from one toopology context to another closed context.

Being open is not the same thing as being all-inclusive. It is also no accident that the vocabulary constantly used by the historical avant-garde is the language of iconoclasm.

The installation that nowadays became the leading art form in the framework of contemporary art operates as a reversal of reproduction.