2 Kasım 2014 Pazar

Aesthetics of Relations

Keywords: aesthetics, relations, politics, public, contemporary art, Bourriaud, Bishop

Another article that I find resemblance with my questions is Relational Aesthetics by Nicolas Bourriaud and at the beginning of his article Bourriaud asks these questions as well: “What are the real challenges of contemporary art? What are its links with society, history and culture?” [1] I think to stay in the context or more importantly to have a context in the first place, these are very important starting points.
Bourriaud define the artistic activity as a game, whose forms, patterns and functions develop and evolve according to periods and social contexts; it is not an immutable essence. This is what creates relational form and relational form consists a possibility of relational art (an art taking as its theoretical horizon the realm of human interactions and its social context, rather than the assertion of an independent art and private symbolic space), points to a radical upheaval of the aesthetic, cultural and political goals introduced by modern art. According to him it is no longer possible to regard the contemporary work as a space to be walk through, instead it is presented as a period of time to be lived through, like an opening to unlimited discussion. It is similar to John Dewey’s definition of “live creature” linked to its environment in order to has experiences continuously.
He consider artwork as social interstice like Joseph Beuys considered it as a social sculpture and defended that contemporary art is developing a political project when it endeavors to move into relational realm by turning it into an issue. However Claire Bishop, in her article Antagonism and Relational Art challenged that approach. She asks in what type, for whom and why human relations should be produced through relational art? She find the “unlimited discussion” functionless and considers it as a celebration of what is already there. She promote that if a work of art is not disruptive it will never become a place where transformative change happens. [2]
I think the theory of Bourriaud has problematic sides, because he, as a curator, believes that social relations can be constructed through art institutions, but then the question Bishop asked become more meaningful. Since art institutions are not part of everyday life, relational art will not be relational enough to become poetic and public at the same time.

[1] Bourriaud, N. (1998), Relational Aesthetics
[2] Bishop, C. (2004), Antagonism and Relational Aesthetics

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