By Boris Groys

The top artwork theorist takes on paintings within the age of the web within the early 20th century, artwork and its associations got here less than critique from a brand new democratic and egalitarian spirit. The suggestion of artistic endeavors as sacred items was once decried and for that reason they'd be understood in simple terms as issues. This intended an assault on realism, in addition to at the conventional preservative venture of the museum. Acclaimed paintings theorist Boris Groys argues this ended in the advance of “direct realism”: an paintings that may now not produce gadgets, yet practices (from functionality paintings to relational aesthetics) that may now not live on. yet for greater than a century now, each enhance during this course has been fast by way of new technique of holding art’s contrast. during this significant new paintings, Groys charts the paradoxes produced through this stress, and explores artwork within the age of the thingless medium, the net. Groys claims that if the innovations of mechanical replica gave us items with no air of mystery, electronic creation generates air of secrecy with out gadgets, remodeling all its fabrics into vanishing markers of the transitory current.

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Theory sees the living body of the philosopher through perspectives that are not available to his self-reflection. Indeed, we cannot see our own body, its positions in the world, and the material processes that take place inside and outside of it – physical and chemical, but also economical, biopolitical, sexual, and so on. ’ Even more important, we cannot have an inner experience of the limitations of our temporal and spatial existence. We were not present at our birth – and we will be not present at our death.

In other words, the modern artist makes secular propaganda, comparable to religious propaganda. I am not critical of this propagandistic turn. It has produced many interesting works in the course of the twentieth century and remains productive today. However, artists who practice this type of propaganda often speak about the ineffectiveness of art – as if everybody could and should be persuaded by art even if he or she cannot be persuaded by theory itself. Propaganda art is not specifically inefficient; it simply shares the successes and failures of the theory that it propagates.

There is a science that investigates all kinds of fluids and fluidity in general. It is called rheology. What I attempt in this book is the rheology of art – discussion of art as flowing. The modern and contemporary understanding of art as fluid seems to contradict art’s original purpose: to withstand the flow of time. Indeed, in the context of early modernity, art functioned as a secular, materialist substitute for the lost belief in the eternal ideas and the divine spirit. Contemplation of works of art took the place of the contemplation of the Platonic ideal or of God.

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