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Daniel Buren's theoretical practice

By Dominic Rahtz


This book chapter forms one part of a research project examining the relationship between impersonality and political action in art in the late 1960s. It is intended as a theoretical contribution to the growing art-historical scholarship concerned with the art of the 1960s and 1970s.\ud \ud The essay considers the work and texts of the French artist Daniel Buren during the period 1967–70. In particular, it looks at how Buren projected an impersonality in his art work that was theorized by him with reference to the literary critical texts of Maurice Blanchot; it investigates how this formed a basis for Buren to consider his work a form of 'theory', that is, as establishing a position from which to reflect on and criticize what he saw as the determining ideology of art. This definition was indebted to Louis Althusser's conception of 'theoretical practice', which developed from his reading of Marx in the 1960s, and, as such, it contained a political dimension that is related to Buren’s artistic interventions in the streets of Paris that coincided with the political events of May 1968. The essay thus develops an account of the relationship between art and politics at this particular historical conjuncture that contributes to how that relationship may be theorized, as well as to art-historical accounts of the period.\ud \ud This output has been presented in the form of a paper as part of the conference Künstlerische Theoriebildung und Praxis in der Moderne/ Artistic Practice and Theory in Modern Art, Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt, November 2010, and at the Critical Spatial Practices seminar at the Royal Institute of British Architects, London

Topics: NX Arts in general
Publisher: Intellect
Year: 2011
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Provided by: UCA Research Online
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