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Part Dieu. The Painting of Francisco Sierra
Part Dieu. The Painting of Francisco Sierra

Michael Heitz

Another New God in Parts

You have to imagine Francisco Sierra as a cheerful painter. Not only do his A Self Portrait, from 2005, and the series ExBolígrafo, from 2005/06, suggest this but also his jocularly gloomy alternation between photo- and sur-realist visual gesture along with a highly idiosyncratic selection of subject matter. This is so remarkable that the viewer sets out on a frequently convoluted reversed trail along the process of painterly image-making in order to look for motifs in the sense of motivation—not... ABO
  • painting
  • motive
  • iconography
  • God

 

Current Texts

Simon Critchley

The world is shit.

We are living through a long anti-1960s. The various anti-capitalist experiments in communal living and collective existence that defined that period seem to us either quaintly passé, laughably unrealistic or dangerously misguided. Having grown up and thrown off such seemingly childish ways, we now think we know better than to try and bring heaven crashing down to earth and construct concrete utopias. To that extent, despite our occasional and transient enthusiasms and Obamaisms, we are all political realists; indeed most of us are passive nihilists and cynics. This is why we still require a belief in something like original sin, namely that there is something ontologically defective about what it means to be human. The Judaeo-Christian conception of original sin finds its modern analogues in Freud’s variation on the Schopenhauerian disjunction between desire and civilization, Heidegger’s ideas of facticity and fallenness and the Hobbesian anthropology that drives Carl Schmitt’s defense...

  • activism
  • art
  • politics
  • community
  • contemporary art
Current Texts

Alain Badiou

Only art has the power of a form. Mathematics is an exercise for monks.

We all know that the relationship between mathematical activity and artistic creation is a very old one. We know that for a start the Pythagoreans tied the science of number not merely to the movements of the stars but to musical modes. We know that Babylonian and Egyptian architecture presupposed elaborate geometrical knowledge, even if the notion of demonstration had still not been won. Further back still, we find formal, or abstract, outlines mixed in with animal representations, in the great prehistoric decorations, without our knowing precisely to what it is that these mixtures refer. 


For the philosopher that I am, or that I believe I am, the entry into our question, as so many others, passes through the contrasting disposition between Plato and Aristotle. 


For Plato, mathematics is fundamental in the sense that it mediates between, on the one hand, experience, or the relation to the sensory world, and,...

  • art
  • aesthetics
  • art criticism
  • contemporary art
  • poetry

 

"Curriculum Vitae in Pictures“

Maria Zinfert (ed.)

Kracauer. Photographic Archive

Kracauer. Photographic Archive presents  largely unknown material from the estate of the German-American theorist of film and photography, ­Siegfried Kracauer and his wife and assistant Elisabeth, known as Lili. The single and group portraits, still lifes, street scenes and landscapes collected in this book all come from the estate of Siegfried Kracauer. Published here for the first time, they are an extensive and representative selection from the enlargements, contact sheets and rolls of film originally archived by Lili Kracauer. With...
  • archive
  • 20th century
  • 1950s
  • biography
  • 1930s
Current Texts

Brian Massumi

Complexifying the Subject of Interest

We are enjoined to rational choice. We are taught that our freedom is one with the freedom of choice. We are told we become who we are by how we choose. We are assured that if we choose well, according to our own best interests, we will end up serving the interests of all. We are told that there is a mechanism in place to ensure this convergence between our interests and others’. Market is its name. Its “invisible hand” adjusts best choices to each other, its magic touch guided by the principle of competition. Competition weeds out suboptimal choices, selecting for efficiency. Efficiencies multiply each other, minimizing effort and maximizing profit for all. The market, we are further led to believe, is self-regulating. It has a natural inclination toward optimization. As political subjects, we are enjoined to vote, rationally, in its interests so that we may pursue our own,...

  • critique of neoliberalism
  • affects
  • epistemology
  • Homo economicus
  • crisis
Current Texts

Josef Früchtl

Aesthetic Community and As If

I would like to begin with a short story. And in doing so, I draw upon an experienced German story-teller and philosopher (who, by the way, is very well known in Giessen). It is a short story, but a fundamental one – as is the tradition with philosophy –, and it goes like this:


For a long time, philosophy needed fiction, roughly speaking, only when figments of the imagination were called for. Sometimes this would be for arbitrarily combined characteristics (such as those which make up the creatures found in fables, like centaurs or unicorns), and sometimes for a self-contradictory non-entity (like a square circle or a wooden iron). For Immanuel Kant, a non-entity (nihil negativum, Unding) was located right at the bottom of the “scale of nothing,” meaning as it did a term which cancels itself out, a term in opposition not only to reality, but also to possibility. In contrast, a...

  • community
  • art
  • activism
  • contemporary art
  • politics