Tag Archives: practice and theory

Critical Theory in Contemporary Art Practice

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Course Outline | Course Dates | Tutor | Reviews | Bibliography | Resources
Course Description

This course maps the theories and discourses that inform the production and reception of contemporary art, providing a supportive environment to develop your practice and articulate your ideas on the production, exhibition and interpretation of art.

Through lectures, seminars, tutorials and gallery visits the course will familiarise you with key concepts and historical transformations that underpin contemporary art production and reception. We will look at the impact of key philosophical, cultural and political discourses on art practice, and examine different theoretical perspectives and critical debates. You will extend and develop your ability to discuss, write about and judge contemporary art. You will be supported in contextualising your practice with extensive feedback in tutorials and workshops. You will also develop your skills in writing artist’s statements, critical reviews and/or exhibition proposals.

What kind of knowledge and skills do contemporary artists need? Who is art for? How do we recognise art? What distinguishes art from other forms of cultural production? How does the global economy affect the production and circulation of art? Is art a commodity? What is the social role of art? Can art bring about social change? Can art be critical? Are artists expected to push social boundaries? What is critical art, critical of? What is aesthetic autonomy? These are some of the questions we will address as we explore the historical and critical contexts in which contemporary art is made, circulated, viewed and understood.

Course Outcomes

By the end of the course you will have a good grasp of the historical underpinnings and current debates in contemporary art. You will develop, articulate and contextualise your practice. You will develop your writing and research skills and formulate research questions to guide your practice and research. You will be able to critically evaluate your own work, as well as that of others. You’ll be able to critically discuss and evaluate contemporary art.

Who Should Attend

The course is open to everyone regardless of experience but it is particularly suited to those who have a background and experience in art and wish to develop their practice and extend their knowledge of contemporary art practices and discourses. The course will suit those wishing to develop their practice and research, prepare a portfolio, apply for a postgraduate degree in art or pursue a career in the arts. The course will benefit painters, sculptors, print-makers, installation artists, performance artists, video and media artists, designers, sound artists, musicians, curators, writers and researchers.

For more information on the course, including the schedule, lectures and reading please download the Course Outline.

Upcoming Course Dates

Click on the dates below for more info and to book

10 Jan—14 Mar 2019, Thursdays 6pm-8:30pm for 10 wks @Chelsea College of Arts UAL
From To Time Duration Location Fee Actions
Thursday,
10 Jan 2019
Thursday,
14 Mar 2019
18:00–20:30 Five days
(25 hours)
Chelsea College of Arts UAL
16 John Islip Street, London SW1P 4JU
£ 599 BOOK

This course runs from 10 January to 14 March 2019, every Thursday from 6pm to 8:30pm for ten weeks at Chelsea College of Arts UAL. If you have any questions please contact us or the Chelsea Short Course Team +44 (0) 20 7514 6311.

5—9 August 2019, MonFri 10:00-16:00 for 5 days @Chelsea College of Arts UAL
From To Time Duration Location Fee Actions
Monday,
5 Aug 2018
Friday,
9 Aug 2018
10:00–16:00 Five days
(25 hours)
Chelsea College of Arts UAL
16 John Islip Street, London SW1P 4JU
£ 599 BOOK

This course runs from 5 to 9 August 2019, every day from 10am to 4pm for one week at Chelsea College of Arts UAL. If you have any questions please contact us or the Chelsea Short Course Team +44 (0) 20 7514 6311.

Tutor

Sophia Kosmaoglou is an artist, tutor, curator and founder of [ART&CRITIQUE], an alternative art education network based in London. Her current practice blurs the boundaries between art, activism and education to question the ontology of art and its social and institutional functions. She has a practice-based PhD in Fine Art from Goldsmiths and her research interests include institutional critique and the relationship between art and politics, institutions and independent organisations and collective practices. She has previously taught Critical Studies and Studio Practice on BA Fine Art Practice and Joint Honours courses at Goldsmiths and is currently a Visiting Tutor at Chelsea College of Arts. For more information please see https://videomole.tv

Reviews

This course offers a great opportunity to spend significant time and thought on aspects of your practice in a stimulating group environment. I would like to thank Sophia for her commitment to the students beyond what I expected- providing us with a wealth of information, reading lists etc and regular, detailed personalised feedback, which made such a difference. Anon

I’ve been looking for a long time to find a course like this, it is a unique opportunity, no other place provides this course. Sophia is a brilliant tutor and I am so glad I participated. I look forward to the next course. Anon

There is a lot of material in this course. It could easily form the basis of a degree course either under or post graduate. —Anon

What an enormous pleasure and fascinating process this week has been, so open and yet demanding. I’m in my studio as I write. It feels like the place to be to think it through, and in my case ‘get on with it’. I have a stack of questions, and some answers now, about how to go forward. It’s exciting! Thank you Sophia for this fantastic course, for your teaching, feedback and whole approach. It is so helpful to receive your perceptive and knowledgeable feedback to shake things up, reflect and begin to put more focused ideas into practice. You set the bar high for all of us with astonishing commitment. —Anon

The ideas learnt are indispensable and will stick with me for life. I will use it towards a Master’s course and during my own personal study. It has inspired me to get back in education with more direction and confidence. —Anon

ART&CRITIQUE is an alternative education network dedicated to critical engagement with contemporary art practice and theory. To get involved please come along to an event. ART&CRITIQUE is self-funded and volunteer-run.

 

 

[SYMPOSIUM] BOOK CLUB

[SYMPOSIUM] BOOK CLUB
Nietzsche: The Birth of Tragedy

Friday, 12 April 2019, 6:30pm – 9pm
LARC, 62 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1ES
Closest stations: Whitechapel / Aldgate East
Facilitated by Nat Pimlott
Suggested donation £2, booking via Eventbrite

Markus Lüpertz [1965] Schuhabdruck—dithyrambisch (Shoe print—Dithyrambic). Ströher Collection, Darmstadt, Germany.
Markus Lüpertz [1965] Schuhabdruck—dithyrambisch (Shoe print—Dithyrambic). Ströher Collection, Darmstadt, Germany.
DOWNLOAD Friedrich Nietzsche (2003/1872). The Birth of Tragedy. Blackmask Online. Chapters 1, 16, 17, 23 and 24 (please note this starts from Chapter 1 after the introduction by Nietzsche titled an ‘Attempt at self criticism’ (1886) further down on the PDF under the title the Birth of tragedy).

The Birth of Tragedy, Nietzsche’s first book, published in 1872 when he was 28, is both a historical study of the origins of Greek tragedy and a complex and compelling argument for the necessity for art in life.

In the Birth of Tragedy Nietzsche describes two competing impulses in Greek culture – the Apollonian and the Dionysian.

Apollo as the god of the plastic or representational arts of painting and sculpture, is associated with beauty and order.

Dionysus in contrast is the god of the non-representational art of music, and associated with flux, mysticism and excess. Through music man is given a true glimpse into the nature of life, and the dissolution of individual identity in communion with nature.

While the Apollonian artist is associated with light and clarity, the Dionysian offers an insight into the darker side of life, a confrontation with the pain and destruction of existence.

Nietzsche argues that these forces and artistic tendencies which were in conflict were merged in Attic tragedy with the combination of the musical chorus and poetry. He believed the combination of these states produced the highest forms of music and tragic drama, which not only reveal the truth about suffering in life, but also provide a consolation for it.

While this mixture of competing forces was richly realised in  Attic tragedy Nietzsche traces how the arrival of Socratic culture which prioritised the purely intellectual and rational led to the destruction of myth and the art of the tragedy.

In the second half of the Birth of Tragedy Nietzsche uses this framework as the basis of a critique of the rationalism of late nineteenth-century German culture.

In its wide-ranging discussion of the nature of art, science and religion, Nietzsche’s argument raises questions about the vitality and nature of culture in a secular, rationalist modern world.

It contains themes that will remain important in Nietzsche’s later work – including the ‘will’ (an ultimate force which determines human life which will become in his later work the ‘will to power’) and, as he sets out in his preface to the second edition, a critique of Christianity and modern science as forms of belief that he argues do not bring man close to the real meaning of life.

It also contains the roots of arguments that have proven to be some of Nietzsche’s most influential. It’s critique of rationalism in western culture links it to modernism; in it’s focus on dreams and the origins underlying latent content it also seems to have links to psychoanalysis; and in his search for the unknown origin behind avowed or accepted ones it also presages the work of post-structuralists such as Derrida, whose own work depends on disputing of accepted interpretations and origins.

The birth of tragedy has become one of Nietzsche’s best known and most influential books and a source of a challenging rich argument for how aesthetic experience relates to the meaning of life and other questions that remain central to the practice of art and criticism today.

Questions

  • What is the Apollonian and Dionysian? Is this opposition the right one?
  • Are there other forces that need to be considered? and is it relevant in interpreting art today?
  • How does rationalism and science shape modern culture?
  • What role can myth play in culture now?
  • Is aesthetic experience the only truth in a secular world?
  • Where is the Apollonian and Dionysian in modern culture? Does the Dionysian need revival?
Markus Lüpertz [1965] Schuhabdruck—dithyrambisch (Shoe print—Dithyrambic). Ströher Collection, Darmstadt, Germany.
Markus Lüpertz [1965] Schuhabdruck—dithyrambisch (Shoe print—Dithyrambic). Ströher Collection, Darmstadt, Germany.
Suggested further reading

Monthly reading group for artists, researchers and anyone interested in the intersections between art practice and critical theory. Everyone is welcome to propose a text and facilitate the reading group. Please book your place and download the shared document. For more information and an archive of previous events please scroll down.

Free & open access

The reading group is free and open to everyone who wants to join as long as they commit to the reading. Please register and arrive early, doors will close when we reach maximum capacity. Don’t forget to download the shared document and bring a hard-copy to the book club. Please consider donating to help cover our expenses and keep us going.

Discussion & decision-making

Texts are selected by group consensus on the basis that they reflect on the relationship between practice and theory. This includes a broad variety of texts, from philosophy to politics and aesthetics to science fiction – there is no limitation.

Facilitating the book club

[SYMPOSIUM] is a supportive community of peers who discuss and unpack their research interests. All participants have the opportunity to facilitate the book club on a text of their choice. If you would like to propose a text, you can start preparing right now:

[1] Decide on a text that you want to discuss.

[2] Do some background research and write a short introduction to provide some context, from your own perspective. When was it written? Why was it written? Who wrote it? Was it a response to something else? Why are you interested in the text? How does it relate to, or inform, your practice or your research?

[3] Pace the reading. How long is the text? If it is short, can we discuss the entire text in a 2-hour book club? If the text is long you may need to divide it up between two or more sessions.

[4] Write down some questions that you would like to bring to the discussion. Suggest some further reading and an image or two, with captions.

[5] Download the infosheet and send us your proposal.


[SYMPOSIUM] ARCHIVE

#34 Jared Diamond: Collapse
Friday, 8 March 2019, 7pm – 9pm
LARC, 62 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1ES
Facilitated by Alter Us

#33 Claire Bishop: Artificial Hells
Friday, 8 February, 7pm – 9pm
LARC, 62 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1ES
Facilitated by Eva Ruschkowski

#32 Eagleton & Zizek: The Idea of Communism
Friday, 14 December 2018, 6:30pm – 9pm
LARC, 62 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1ES
Facilitated by Neil Lamont

#31 Mark Fisher: Capitalist Realism Pt.3
Friday, 9 November 2018, 6:30pm – 9pm
LARC, 62 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1ES
Facilitated by Silvia Bombardini & Elliot C. Mason

#30 Debord: The Culmination of Separation
Friday, 12 October 2018, 18:30–21:00
LARC, 62 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1ES
Facilitated by Penelope Kupfer & Darshana Vora

#29 Deutsch: Why are flowers beautiful?
Friday, 14 September 2018, 18:30–21:00
LARC, 62 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1ES
Facilitated by John Fortnum

#28 Fisher: Capitalist Realism Pt.2
Saturday, 9 June 2018, 2:30pm – 5:30pm
UNISON/Yurt Café, Limehouse, London E14 8DS
Facilitated by Sophia Kosmaoglou
Part of Antiuniversity Now 9-15 June 2018

#27 Derrida: Signature Event Context
Friday, 11 May 2018, 18:30–21:00
LARC, 62 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1ES
Facilitated by Nat Pimlott & Sophia Kosmaoglou

#26 Derrida: Structure, Sign and Play
Friday, 13 April 2018, 6:30pm–9pm
LARC, 62 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1ES
Facilitated by Sophia Kosmaoglou

#25 Fisher: Capitalist Realism Pt.1
Friday, 9 March 2018, 6:30pm-9pm
The Field, 385 Queens Road, London SE14 5HD
Facilitated by Sophia Kosmaoglou

#24 Cohn: Representation and Critique
Friday, 9 February 2018, 6:30pm-9pm
LARC, 62 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1ES
Facilitated by Aris Nikolaidis

#23 Adam Curtis: HyperNormalisation
Friday, 12 January 2018, 6:30pm-9pm
LARC, 62 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1ES
Facilitated by
Neil Lamont

#22 Debord: Negation and Consumption
Friday, 8 December 2017, 6:30pm-9pm
LARC, 62 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1ES
Facilitated by Aristotelis Nikolaidis

#21 Adorno: Commitment
Friday, 10 November 2017
LARC, 62 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1ES
Facilitated by Nat Pimlott

#20 Foucault: Of Other Spaces
Sunday, 15 October 2017
UNISON/Yurt Café, Limehouse, London E14 8DS
Facilitated by Dasha Loyko

#19 Bishop: Pedagogical Projects
Monday, 24 July 2017
Guest Projects, 1 Andrews Road, London E8 4QL
Chaired by Renata Minoldo
Part of School of The Damned‘s Common Room

#18 Virno: The Dismeasure of Art
Friday, 9 June 2017
Grow Elephant, New Kent Rd, London SE17 1SL
Chaired by Rubén Salgado Perez

#17 Judd: Specific Objects
Friday, 21 April 2017
88 Fleet Street, London EC4Y 1DH
Chaired by Richard Burger

#16 Deleuze & Guattari: Rhizome
Friday, 10 March 2017
88 Fleet Street, London EC4Y 1DH
Chaired by Katie Tysoe and Sophia Kosmaoglou

#15 Marx: The Fetishism of the Commodity & its Secret
Friday, 10 February 2017
Wimbledon Art Studios, London SW17 0BB
Chaired by Sophia Kosmaoglou

#14 O’Sullivan: The Aesthetics of Affect
Friday, 13 January 2017
Louise House, Dartmouth Rd, London SE23 3HZ
Chaired by Katie Tysoe

#13 Foucault: The Four Similitudes
Friday, 9 December 2016
88 Fleet Street, London EC4Y 1DH
Chaired by Penelope Kupfer

#12 Foster: Post-Critical?
Friday, 11 November 2016
The Field, 385 Queens Road, London SE14 5HD
Chaired by Dasha Loyko

#11 Badiou: Art & Philosophy
Friday, 14 October 2016
The Field, 385 Queens Road, London SE14 5HD
Chaired by Kerry W. Purcell

#10 Sontag: Against Interpretation
Friday, 9 September 2016
The Field, 385 Queens Road, London SE14 5HD
Chaired by F. D.

#9 Groys: Under the Gaze of Theory
Friday, 8 July 2016
The Field, 385 Queens Road, London SE14 5HD
Chaired by Sophia Kosmaoglou, respondent Johanna Kwiat

#8 Rancière: Problems & Transformations of Critical Art
Friday, 10 June 2016
The Field, 385 Queens Road, London SE14 5HD
Chaired by Stephen Bennett
Part of Antiuniversity Now 9-12 June 2016

#7 Sewell: Tate Triennial III
Friday, 13 May 2016
The Field, 385 Queens Road, London SE14 5HD
Chaired by Richard Lloyd-Jones

#6 Duchamp: The Creative Act
Friday, 8 April 2016
The Field, 385 Queens Road, London SE14 5HD
Chaired by F. D., respondent Penelope Kupfer

#5 Latour: On Actor Network Theory
Friday, 11 March 2016
The Field, 385 Queens Road, London SE14 5HD
Chaired by Johanna Kwiat

#4 Barthes: The Death of the Author
Friday, 12 February 2016
The Field, 385 Queens Road, London SE14 5HD
Chaired by Henrietta Ross

#3 Owens: The Discourse of Others
Friday, 8 January 2016
The Field, 385 Queens Road, London SE14 5HD
Chaired by Sophia Kosmaoglou

#2 Abu-Lughod: Writing against Culture
Friday, 11 December 2015
The Field, 385 Queens Road, London SE14 5HD
Chaired by OmarJoseph Nasser-Khoury

#1 Kant: What is Enlightenment?
Friday, 13 November 2015
The Field, 385 Queens Road, London SE14 5HD
Chaired by Sophia Kosmaoglou