-The Politics of Abstraction According to Ann Veronica Janssens

Mieke Bal

Published August 2013
ISBN: 9781472528186

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Posted 9 October 2013

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In Endless Andness, Mieke Bal pioneers a new understanding of the political potential of abstract art which does not passively yield its meaning to the viewer but creates it anew - an art perceived not only through the retina but experienced viscerally. In this book, the third of her companion volumes on art's political agency, Bal explores perception through an intense engagement with the work of Belgian sculptor Ann Veronica Janssens. In a series of vividly-recalled encounters with Janssen's practice over a number of years, Bal presents a new conception of embodied perception - art experienced in a body conjured into participation and transformed by the experience. From Janssens' 'mist room' works and the CorpsNoir sculptures through to the fugitive, porous Aerogel, Bal traces an art which eludes the subject-object distinction to alter our ideas about the potential of political art in abstract and figurative forms. Enticing us simultaneously to lose ourselves and to come home, the tenuous materiality of installation art empowers those who live in the permanently lost and migratoryc ondition that characterizes contemporary experience. In celebrating and interrogating the work of this prolific and innovative artist, Mieke Bal transforms our understanding of non-representational art to create a new awareness of perception and performance in the shared spaces of our world.

Table Of Contents
List of Figures
1. How to Do Things with Clouds
2. Light Matters
3. Inside the Polis
4. Serendipity
5. And-ness Epilogue: Ten Ways of Sharing Space References

“Both a profound reflection on the categories for thinking about art, and a study of a remarkable series of art installations. Endless Andness is a powerful and eloquent evocation of the experience of art that otherwise would envelop the viewer in its singular spaces. In exploring such concepts as performativity, deixis, and participatory observation, concepts that enable reflection on Janssens' art events, Mieke Bal offers a broad framework for thinking about art today.” – Jonathan Culler, Professor of English, Cornell University, USA
“Mieke Bal's absorbing and comprehensive study of the work of Ann Veronica Janssens is an exemplary achievement on many levels. Bal teases out the playful, affective but rigorous character of the artist's 'sculptural' works, showing how they draw participant viewers into experiment with 'the ungraspable yet utterly material that exists beyond the burden of objects.' In doing so, she shows how these works exemplify a novel Deleuzian concept of abstraction, as well as a democratic and empowering sense in which art can be 'political.' This is a book for anyone with an interest in contemporary art, philosophy and a more modest sense of the political.” – Paul Patton, Professor of History and Philosophy, University of New South Wales, Australia

What a great book that explains the art of seeing by performing, reading, acting, spacing and traversing and the art works of Ann Veronica Janssens and others. Through non-materials as light, fog, and color the text leads you through expositions and the importance of Janssens works passing the different works in her oeuvre where non materials like glass, plastic, oil or projections can sharp one's perception and invite us to experience by participation to be transformed by the experience too. Well written in English by Mieke Bal, Cultural theorist and critic, independent curator and video artist, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences Professor (KNAW), 2005-2011, based at the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis, University of Amsterdam.
Absolute must for each student and visiting observer of modern art. Angela van der Burght

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