Martens vs. KIRAC: les extrêmes se touchent? | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
2004
Volume 115 Number 4
  • ISSN: 0002-5275
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1244

Abstract

Abstract

This paper discusses the relationship between art and politics by taking Walter Benjamin’s famous formulation on the ‘politicization of art’ and the ‘aestheticization of politics’ as a starting point. The work of Dutch artist Renzo Martens and the work of art collective KIRAC are considered to be exemplifying the two sides of Benjamin’s formulation, and at the same time as representative of wider tendencies of the contemporary art world. I argue that, in their extreme and contradictory positions, these sides also share a common, art-hostile moment, one that I counter with a conception of art as ‘acting as if’ () – with the dual dimension of acting (a form of praxis or performance) and ‘as if’ (imagined). Based on this idea of ‘acting as if’ I argue that art’s relationship to politics is one of productive contradiction.

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