The art business has long split into a host of parallel branches, each with their own institutional universe, markets and illusions. Even once hegemonic large-scale events like documenta or the biennials in Venice, São Paulo, Istanbul or New York no longer succeed in creating an enduring, coherent narrative. What still holds contemporary art together as an institution? Is it solely projections of potential success on global markets, or is it the hope of finding, at least briefly—beyond the itinerant logic driving one’s own circle—a reflection of purportedly universal value in large-scale events, which appear to offer refuge from everyday routines of local rivalry and representational conflicts? Issue 3/2018 asks artists from various generations about the figures, aesthetic attitudes, biographical experiences and, last but not least, the works and projects that have accompanied their practice as models for reflection, resistance or success. In the process, it poses the question of the nature of production. What is the logic that drives production? Are artists, the work, the project even still the facets perceived? Or is it perhaps more the case that a different conception has long become established in contemporary regimes of exchange, designating the institution of “art” as a space within which one lives and thinks?
Date of publication: 15th July 2018
Is our society developing further? “Further” in the sense that efforts are made, in real practical terms, to remediate circumstances recognised as unjust and to actively set in motion processes that aim to promote balanced modes of living together? Is progress, which has so long determined the narrative of modernisation and social redistribution, still a significant category today? Are aspects of progress or more viable approaches to overcoming unjust, non-egalitarian relations perhaps to be found in the cultural realm rather than elsewhere? And should we give credence to ideologies of progress that locate such progress above all in the technological realm, possibly harbouring as a hidden agenda a conviction that societal mechanisms will somehow or other come into play in the wake of developments on the technological front? Contemporary art may perhaps always be one step ahead of all this, in that it seeks to impact on an irksome Here and Now from the perspective of the future, of a vision drawn with idealised or utopian brushstrokes. The fall issue unfurls scenarios that engage with this impact, asking to what extent it offers a viable means of working toward (also social) progress that genuinely merits this designation.
Date of publication: 15th October 2018