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Book Chapter

Filling in the blank: Art, politics, and phenomenology

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Grüny, C. (2019). Filling in the blank: Art, politics, and phenomenology. In T. Bedorf, & S. Herrmann (Eds.), Political phenomenology: Experience, ontology, episteme (pp. 325-349). New York: Routledge.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0007-ADE1-8
The imperative to become political has become pervasive in today’s art world. This development has further strengthened two movements that have played important roles in the art of the past decades anyway: emphasis on the conceptual dimension and the attempt to actively intervene into society. While these movements may run counter to one another, they both tend to marginalize the dimension of perceptible form – the aesthetic in the traditional sense – that a phenomenology of the arts has considered its natural object. The chapter discusses major theoretical contributions to this movement and also exhibitions that have embraced the political imperative like the Berlin Biennale. It asks how a political dimension of art that is still phenomenologically accessible can be salvaged; then turns to a radical reinterpretation of Husserl’s “principle of all principles” through Latour’s Actor Network Theory, thus opening the path of a transformed understanding of phenomenology that doesn’t limit it to the aesthetic in the sense of the perceptible. Finally, it examines two challenging examples, namely the controversy on Dana Schutz’ painting Open Casket and Christoph Schlingensief’s political installation/performance Ausländer raus! in Vienna.