Poetic Recuperations: The Ideology and Praxis of Nouveau Réalisme

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

17.30, Kenneth Clark Lecture Theatre

photo of Pierre Restany with hands stretched in front of him
Pierre Restany, ca. 1960 (photo: Shunk-Kender; © Roy Lichtenstein Foundation, Shunk-Kender)

Speaker(s): Dr Wood Roberdeau (Lecturer in Visual Cultures, Goldsmiths, University of London)

Ticket/entry details: Open to all, free admission

Organised by: Professor Caroline Arscott

As a theorist, Pierre Restany (1930-2003) sought to establish a structure in which the work of Marcel Duchamp could be considered a ground zero, a cleared platform from where art practices could leap. Invoking the concept of the readymade and altering its scope confirmed a style that was also enhanced by a sociological interest in the quotidian. Restany’s ideology of Nouveau Réalisme developed alongside capitalism in post-war France and the paradigm shift from quasi-Marxist cultural reconstructions to the accumulation of wealth. Confronted with the questions proposed by previous avant-gardes, the artists associated with the movement at its genesis effectively renegotiated the discourse surrounding the autonomous work of art or formal object by choosing to engage with the promise of economic and technological progress. It could be said that Restany's claims pertained more to a way of life than to a way of making art and yet, as an art critic, he was bound by his discipline. This lecture seeks to liberate him somewhat by taking a closer look at his modernist arguments alongside selected artworks and the wider philosophical terrain of contemporary aesthetics.

Wood Roberdeau is a lecturer on the undergraduate Art History programme at Goldsmiths, University of London. His current research addresses the capacity for artworks to inform common experience in terms of duration, relationality, urban and rural domesticities, culinary materialism, and object-oriented ontology.

This is the fourth annual lecture associated with the RIHA Journal, the Journal of the International Association of Research Institutes in the History of Art, launched in 2010. It represents an ambitious effort to coordinate and support the multiple approaches to art historical research in RIHA’s many member countries through the production of a freely accessible online journal. The Journal makes use of local editors from all the member institutes, including The Courtauld, to peer review and publish outstanding articles in this field. Managed by Dr Regina Wenninger in the Zentralinstituts für Kunstgeschichte in Munich, the Journal is supported by the German government in the form of specially adapted ‘Plone’ software for multi-site editing. For further information see http://www.riha-journal.org

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