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Power lecture – Concrete Abstractions: Notes on Form

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Old Geology Lecture Theatre

The University of Sydney

Camperdown, NSW 2006

Australia

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The Power Institute is pleased to present a lecture, Concrete Abstractions: Notes on Form, by Sven Lütticken, lecturer in Art and Culture, History and Antiquity at the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam


ABSTRACT
The notion of form seems to belong to the more problematic heirlooms of art history. Indispensable though it may be in a somewhat demotic usage, it has been conceptually dethroned as the discipline has become more focused on the institutional field and the social history of art. Yet in institutional structures and social relations, art history again encounters forms; forms of life, to use Agamben’s term. Consequently, there is a growing interest in the development of a political formalism. Form as a concept seems to oscillate between the Platonic and the Aristotelian; it can be conceived of as abstract idea, yet it will manifest itself as the concrete (in)formation of an embodied and material shape. This is what made “form” such a master signifier for much of modernity: modern thought and society are marked by the progressive becoming-concrete of the abstract; the productive operationalization of the abstract.. Against this background, this lecture will address various accounts of form and of formation (a term used by Hegel) to sound out the potential and limitations of the politics of form in art and beyond.


ABOUT THE SPEAKER
Sven Lütticken lectures in the Faculty of Humanities, Art and Culture, History and Antiquity, at the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam. Lütticken studied art history at the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam and the Freie Universität, Berlin. In 2004, he was granted the Prize for Art Criticism of the BKVB fund, Amsterdam. He is the author of Secret Publicity: Essays on Contemporary Art (Rotterdam: NAi publishers, 2006) and Idols of the Market (Berlin: Sternberg press, 2009). Lütticken was the curator of Life, Once More: Forms of Reenactment in Contemporary Art (Witte de With, Rotterdam, 2005) and The Art of Iconoclasm (BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht, 2009). He publishes regularly in (inter)national art magazines such as Artforum, New Left Review, Afterimage, Texte zur Kunst and Camera Austria.

Sven Lütticken lecture and his Australia visit were made possible with support by the University of Queensland Art Museum.

For enquiries, contact: powerinstitute.events@sydney.edu.au

[image credit: William Henry Fox Talbot, Three Sheets of Gauze, Crossed Obliquely, about 1852 - 1857, Photographic engraving, 13.3 x 12.7 cm. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles.]

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Old Geology Lecture Theatre

The University of Sydney

Camperdown, NSW 2006

Australia

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