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‘Political-Timing-Specific’ Performance Art in the Realm of the Museum
Hélia Marçal and Daniela Salazar
‘Political-Timing-Specific’ Performance Art in the Realm of the Museum: The Potential of Reenactment as Practice of Memorialization
Can reenactments be a way to create counter-narratives in and for the museum? Through the analysis of political performance (or what the artist Tania Bruguera calls ‘political-timing-specific’ artworks), this essay discusses the potential of reenactment as both a practice of materializing memories and narratives of oppression and of rethinking museum policies in terms of preservation and display. Its main argument is that, while the archive can be regarded as a form of materializing the memory of these works, reenactment is more than a way of recovering the past; it is also a device for reconstructing memories of activism and oppression. This essay further suggests that reenactments of political-timing-specific works demand a change in accessioning, conservation, and presentation practices, which might be inclined to erase decentralized art-historical and material narratives.
2022. reenactment; museum; activism; political-timing-specific art; memory
Re-Presenting Art History
Re-Presenting Art History: An Unfinished Process
Can reenactment both as reactivation of images and restaging of exhibitions be considered an alternative way of tackling the critical task to re-present art history (i.e., to present it anew) in the here and now, over and over and over again? The gesture of restoring visibility to something no longer present, reactivating or reembodying it as an object/image in and for the present, is here proposed as a (political) act of restitution and historical recontextualization. Examining the boundaries between past and present, original and copy (as well as originality and copyright), repetition and variation, authenticity and auraticity, presence and absence, canon and appropriation, durée and transience, the paper focuses on remediation, reinterpretation, and reconstruction as creative gestures and cultural promises in contemporary art practice, curatorship, and museology.
2022. re-presentation; contemporary art; postmodernism; curatorship; art history; Aby Warburg; museology
Interruptions and discontinuity are the very essence of Aby Warburg’s conception of the temporality that affects art objects. Beneath the seemingly immobilized expressive gesture, the Hamburg scholar recognizes the vitality of the Pathosformeln that convey the intricacy of human multi-layered temporality, made of interruptions, resumptions, inversions, regressions, stops, accelerations, and survivals (Nachleben). In this sense, Warburg’s idea of ‘renewal’, which he developed from his well-known investigation of the Italian Renaissance, does not quite overlap with the notion of rebirth: an expressive gesture can re-emerge and be renewed in a different time without dying and being born a second time with a different form.
2019. Aby Warburg; Pathosformel; Nachleben; Kreuzlingen; regression