Forms of Abstraction
432 pp., 6 x 9 in, 20 b&w illus.
- Published: March 14, 2023
Artists engage with materiality and value, with subatomic particles and radiation, as well as with the objectification of human and nonhuman organisms.
Forms of Abstraction engages with abstraction not as a formal option in art, or as an airy theoretical speculation, but as an operational force that has redesigned our world, and continues to do so. The first volume, Objections, takes its cue from the Latin root of object, obiectum—which refers to something put before the subject, something thrown in one's way. This sense of the object as obstacle or obstruction, and of the artwork as an aesthetic and political objection, is explored in this volume. Objections sees artists engaging with materiality and value, with subatomic particles and radiation as well as with the objectification of human and nonhuman organisms. Along the way, we encounter theoretical objects such as the fetish, the plaster cast, the patented bacteria, the buried radioactive container, and the contemporary artwork itself. Contemporary art is analyzed here as a set of aesthetic practices revolving around problematic and questionable objects that can act as productive objections.
Among the artists discussed are Agency, Kader Attia, Stanley Brouwn, Antje Ehmann and Harun Farocki, Andrea Fraser, Hans Haacke, Carsten Höller and Rosemarie Trockel, Natascha Sadr Haghighian, Sean Snyder, and Jonas Staal.