On the 12 of December David Goldenberg held a lecture at PAVILION center under the title ‘Between Revolution an Heresy’.
In the 90’s, the Hamburg-based theorist Michael Lingner introduced through two texts, indebted to Luhmann’s Systems theory, the concept of Post Autonomy; a term which is appropriated from the 70’s in response to Barthes’ “Death of the Author”. These texts crudely worked through the inherent logic in art that led to the impasse known as Post Modern Art, the consequences of a non-developing art that continues along the route of Post Modernism and outlines a path that separates from that impasse.Although Lingner did not develop the route out of this quandary, which proposed a fundamental rethinking of art and artistic concepts, this mapped out the inherent potentiality of Post Autonomy. During the 90’s, further authors developed similar sounding descriptions, which also proposed radical breaks with a normalised art world in the form of an artistic strike. This was a refusal to contribute creative labour to the art industry in the manner of Gustav Metzger’s art strike, without following down that path. We can now see that the thinking revolving around Post Autonomy during this elementary stage either sought to interrogate the symptoms of Post Modernism or find solutions that are too radical to be carried out. During the beginning of the new century the ideas have undergone further developments.
In 2008 Peter Osbourne, Charles Esche and Jeff Wall redefined Post Autonomy as a practice that is a set of theories interrogating Post Conceptual Art. Contextualised within the Biennial form, Post Autonomy also interrogates the Biennial form, Colonisation and Globalisation, meaning the spatial reach of a Euro-Centric tradition. More recently, theorists such as Pamela Lee (“Leaving the Art World”) address Post Autonomy in more general terms that revolve around rethinking through what is understood by Autonomy and its various permutations, or advocating the very radical actions that the earlier theorists proposed. However, what appears in retrospect is that Post Autonomy as a body of descriptions makes more sense, and that it would be more exact to see these descriptions as the difficulties and complexity faced when we use terms or concepts that are unable to adequately describe the existing state of affairs.
In that respect, Post Autonomy can be seen as the earliest register of the symptoms not of Post Modernism but of Neo-Liberalism, the task of understanding art and thinking that we witness being emptied out.
David Goldenberg is a London based artist. In 2014 he will publish a book of recent texts and projects examining “Post Autonomy”. He was exhibited in The Caspian Biennial Convention; collateral exhibition at Venice Biennial, 2013; 1st Land Art Biennial of Mongolia; 10th Istanbul Biennial; ICA Philadelphia; Shedhalle, Zurich; 6th Sharjah Biennial; Tate Modern; ICA London, UK and many more. Between 2010 – 2011 he produced 10 programmes for Resonance FM radio examining Post Autonomy. He lives and works in London.
Photos: Sorin Florea sorinflorea.tumblr.com
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