|Symposium: Conceptual art is a bunk...It’s a felt, it’s feeling, it’s felt (Robert Smithson), 2013. Photo: Dario Punales|
December 12, 2013, 5–8 p.m. (English)
The symposium takes up themes and motifs in Gertrud Sandqvist’s exhibition Against Method—the curator chose the title as a reference to Paul Feyerabend’s widely read book Against Method: Outline of an Anarchist Theory of Knowledge (1975), in which he turns against the rationalist methodology of a theory of science aiming for universal validity and casts doubt on the scientific ambition to attain knowledge through the application of exact and systematic methods. He instead proposes “irrational means” as the basis for experimental research. Scientists, he argues, should adapt approaches from the arts. Feyerabend’s critique came during the heyday of Conceptual art, when artists, for their part, sought to integrate structuralism and scientific methodology into their work. The various contributions to the symposium address the interrelations between structuralism and Conceptual art and elaborate on the question: to which extent did the appropriation of structuralist theories bring Conceptual art to the limits of its attempts at rationalization?
Eve Meltzer’s lecture investigates the reintegration of the human subject into conceptual works and examines how affect and system condition and complement each other. The artist Joachim Koester, meanwhile, explores the analysis of the non-rational in Sol LeWitt’s writings and minimalist objects. Elisabeth von Samsonow and the artist Ida-Marie Corell collaborate to stage a lecture-performance, a critical dialogue on the question of method and the production of knowledge.