spring 2011 Friends lecture series

Global Conceptualism

Total Enlightenment: Russian Conceptualism

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

17.30 - 18.30, Kenneth Clark Lecture Theatre

Boris Groys, Art Klyazma, 2010. © Courtesy the artist.

Speaker(s): Boris Groys (Research Forum / Andrew W Mellon Foundation MA Visiting Professor at The Courtauld; and Professor of Slavic and Russian Studies at NYU)

Ticket/entry details: Open to all, free admission

Organised by: Dr Sarah Wilson and Professor Boris Groys

"The Soviet state had always been a kind of artwork designed according to the taste of the Party leadership and as the result of centralised planning of all aspects of Soviet life. In that sense, art was the most suitable means of enlightenment. Hence the Moscow Conceptualists could extend their analytical and critical method to the entire Soviet system; they could claim to reflect all of Soviet culture. The Moscow Conceptualists understood their praxis to be enlightening Soviet culture about its own ideological mechanisms." (Boris Groys, 2008)

Boris Groys is currently Visiting Mellon Professor at The Courtauld, and Professor of Slavonic and Russian Studies, at NYU; he was previously Professor and curator at ZKM Karlsruhe (Philosophy and Media theory). Celebrated publications include Stalin the Total Work of Art, 1988 and his exhibition co-curated with Max Hollein, Dream Factory Communism. The Visual Culture of the Stalin Era, (Frankfurt, 2003-4). In 2008 he showed his films on `Religion as medium’: Thinking in Loop (Cubitt Gallery, London) and opened Total Enlightenment, Moscow conceptualism in Frankfurt (then Madrid). He has been the keynote speaker for all the Former West project seminars (Utrecht, Eindhoven, Warsaw 2009-2010) and published History becomes Form (MIT Press) and Going Public (e-flux) in 2010. He is currently teaching the new MA on ‘Global Conceptualism’ with Dr Sarah Wilson. He will lead the Expanded Conceptualism conference at Tate Modern on March 18th-19th 20011, and is curator of the Moscow Pavilion for the Venice Biennale this summer.

This lecture series will complement the new Research Forum/Andrew W Mellon Foundation M.A. on ‘Global Conceptualism’, run by Dr Sarah Wilson with Visiting Professor Groys (New York University) who will be teaching its philosophy-based component in the Spring term. Known for his active role in the Moscow Conceptualist art movement, Groys’ The Communist Postscript (Verso 2009) pursues a story which is now playing out in the reconfiguration of the global art world. The impact of the conceptual art to which he responded in the late 1960s was felt across the world, from West to East and from northern to southern hemispheres. Here the father-figure of the movement, Joseph Kosuth, returns in the company of younger generations of artists, art historians and curators who extend reflections upon art, object, image and word through time and space from their specific geographies and histories to the immaterial.

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