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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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. These images and objects present themselves in a very immediate way.
The inclusion of the film footage into an artistic installation shows its transformative power in an especially obvious way. The installation takes a copy out of an allegedly unmarked, open space of anonymous circulation and puts it — even if only temporarily — in a fixed, stable, closed context of topologically well-defined “here and now”.
And precisely this claim to truth was put in question by post-modernist criticism: Reproduction means dislocation, deterritorialisation, it transports artworks to networks of topologically indeterminable circulation. Abolishing traditions, breaking with conventions, destroying old art and eradicating out-dated values were the slogans of the day.
In terms contemporarry political voice, can a non-installation artwork create a comparable impact to that of installation? A certain film footage can be shown in a cinema oc, 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.
Benjamin suggested that the new technology is able to make a copy more and more identical to the original. The “loss of the aura” is described by Benjamin precisely as a loss of fixed, repetitive context of an artwork. Benjamin overlooked the possibility — and even unavoidability — of reauratisations, relocations and new topological inscriptions of a copy because he shared with high modern art the belief in a unique, normative context of art.
The Topology of Contemporary Art: Boris Groys | alfredcrucible
We are as unable to stabilize a copy as a copy — as we are unable to stabilize an original as an original. 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 -at least potential- erasure borix all visually recognizable differences between original and copy does not eliminate another difference existing between them which, albeit invisible, is none the less decisive: You are commenting using your Twitter account. You are commenting og your WordPress.
The Topology of Contemporary Art: Boris Groys
The material support of the medium in an installation, however, is the space itself. They are here and now — and they are thoroughly visible, given, unconcealed. Not accidentally, the famous essay “The Work of Art in the Age of its Mechanical Reproduction” by Walter Benjamin became so influential during these post-modern decades. Being often enough characterized as “formalistic” Modernist art can hardly be defined in formal terms: The og is not only political because it gives a possibility to document political positions, projects, actions and events — even if such a documentation meanwhile also became a wider-spread artistic practice.
The installation reveals precisely the materiality topolkgy the civilization in which we live, because it installs everything that our civilization simply circulates. Rather, it is a central differentiation that informs any other religious and political options in modernity — the vocabulary of the modern politics shows that very clearly. Every large exhibition or installation is made with the intention of designing a new order of memories, of proposing the new criteria for telling a story, for differentiating between past and future.
Artworks in an installation are topllogy for one simple topological reason: And more than that: That each media alteration creates a new original?
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. In this respect contemporary art is different from Modern art that was directed toward the future and it is different also from post-modern art that was a historical reflection on the Modern project.
Is it the same copy of the same copy of the same original? What differentiates contemporary art from previous times is only the fact that the originality of a work in our time is not established depending on its own form, but through its inclusion in a certain context, in a certain installation, through its topological inscription.
All of them may be turned into a site of installation by documenting the selection process, whether private or institutional. 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.
So for Kierkegaard, Christianity is based on the impossibility of recognizing Christ as God-the impossibility of recognizing Christ as visually different: This gesture has a positive goal to reveal the materiality of the artwork, its pure presence — to establish, as Malevich stated it, the “supremacy of art” by liberating art from its submission under the mimetic illusion, communicative intention or the traditional requirements of instantaneous recognizability.
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. When is a copy just a copy? The installation is a place of openness, of disclosure, of unconcealment precisely because it situates inside its finite space images and objects that also circulate in the outside space — and in this way it opens itself to its outside.
Under this presupposition, to lose its unique, original context means for an artwork to lose its aura forever — and to become a copy of itself.
Beyond this specific claim to truth the modernist artwork looses its edge and becomes merely decorative whatever its form can be. In both cases the context decides about the newness — and in both cases we cannot rely on an established, institutional context but have to create something like a theological or artistic installation that would allow us to take a decision and to articulate it.