15 Jun 2012 /

Day 5: Social Judgment, Aesthetic Perplexity and the Disparate Possibilities for Art in its Public Form: Keynote 1 – Juliane Rebentisch: On the Aesthetic Programming of Critical Discourse

CONFERENCE / SEMINAR / 11:00 15 JUN 2012 / Ständehaus
The Artists’ Congresses: A Congress
Day 5: Social Judgment, Aesthetic Perplexity and the Disparate Possibilities for Art in its Public Form

Event page

11:00 – 11:15: Introduction by Chus Martínez and Rafal Niemojewski

11:15 – 12:00: Keynote 1 – Juliane Rebentisch: On the Aesthetic Programming of Critical Discourse

12:00 – 12:45: Keynote 2 – Cesare Pietroiusti: Bologna 1997: the Oreste Conference

12:45 – 13:30: Keynote 3 – June Yap: Meditations on Precariousness

13:30 – 15:00: Performance/Dora García: KLAU MICH: Radicalism in Society Meets Experiment on TV & Lunch break

15:00 – 15:45: Keynote 4 –Ayreen Anastas & Rene Gabri (conversation): Pending

15:45 – 16:30: Keynote 5 – Khalil Rabah: Why the Palestinian Museum of Natural History and Humankind Is Supporting the 4th Riwaq Biennale

16:30 – 17:00: Coffee break

17:00 – 17:45: Keynote 7 – Lia Perjovschi: Sense

17:45 – 19:15: Conversation

19:15 – 19:45: Q&A

19:45 – 20:00: Summary by Chus Martínez


During the first week after the public opening of dOCUMENTA (13), June 11 – 15, 2012, The Artists' Congresses: A Congress gathers artists and scholars from the fields of art history, philosophy, and cultural studies to address questions related to the history of the artist’s voice. A series of five events delve into the genealogy of public institutional programming and the nature of the congress format as a platform for the production of meaning. Following a brief introduction to the day’s subject, the speakers present significant cases from the history of artists’ ideological and public congresses throughout the twentieth century, concluding with a roundtable discussion followed by an open Q & A session.

With the emergence of these platforms for artists, which evolved in tandem with the historical avant gardes, a new social reading and perception of  the artist developed: as producer rather than as outsider, genius, bohemian, or academic. These terms referring to the artist as an exception were replaced by a vision of the artist as an active participant in the construction of the social body. If the salon had earlier been the semi-public place in which conversations were activated, feeding the need of the upper classes to regard themselves as both patrons and receivers of artistic activity, the avant-garde positioned the street as a space and the artist as a maker of a new collective mind. This was a turning point where the subjective voice of the artist presented itself and its knowledge in a different arena: the meeting, and even the congress. A new syndicate of forces, as well as a different way of understanding the role and function of speech, and therefore language, started to appear in the realm of art exhibition.

How do the different morphologies, from the free academies that were initiated by artists from the late 1960s on, to the many temporary structures that they are inventing in order to present works and ideas today, affect the institutional life of art? How do they relate to the emergence—starting in the mid-1960s—of specific museum departments dedicated to the production of “parallel” discursive events? How does the programming of talks and conferences as part as the exhibition context, as documenta has done from its very first edition in 1955, affect the reception of art?

All sessions start with an introduction by Chus Martínez


Khwezi Gule is Chief Curator of the Hector Pieterson Memorial and Museum in Soweto, South Africa and was contemporary art curator at the Johannesburg Art Gallery from 2004 to 2010. During the early 2000s he initiated the formation of Third Eye Vision, the first black artist’s collective in Durban. Gule is also a founding member of a collective of creative intellectuals dubbed the Dead Revolutionaries Club.

Lia Perjovschi is an artist based in Bucharest. She is the founder and director of Contemporary Art Archive and Center for Art Analysis, an organic and ongoing project that has functioned under different names since 1985. For over two decades, she has created archives, diagrams, and information rooms that tell various modern histories and demonstrate how we organize History.

Khalil Rabah is an artist, curator, lecturer, and teacher based in Ramallah. He is a founder of The Palestinian Museum of Natural History and Humankind and co-founder of the Al Ma'mal Foundation for Contemporary Art in Jerusalem and ArtSchool Palestine in London. In his artistic work, he uses conceptual installation, video, photography, and performance, and incorporates materials emblematic of his Palestinian identity: olive trees, olive oil, stones, soil, lentils.

Juliane Rebentisch is professor of philosophy and aesthetics at the Offenbach University of Art and Design. She has focused on the relation between aesthetics, ethics, and political philosophy. Recent publications include: Kreation und Depression. Freiheit im gegenwärtigen Kapitalismus (co-ed. with Christoph Menke, 2010), and Die Kunst der Freiheit. Zur Dialektik demokratischer Existenz (2012).

June Yap is a curator based in Singapore. Prior to going independent, she curated at the Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore and the Singapore Art Museum, as well as organizing exhibitions internationally. Currently she is the Guggenheim UBS MAP Curator for South and Southeast Asia.

Khwezi Gule, Lia Perjovschi, Khalil Rabah, Juliane Rebentisch, June Yap

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