Diego Malquori

The Awareness of Illusion. On the Dissolution of the Limits of Contemporary Art

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Keywords: Adorno, Banksy, Contemporary Art, Danto, Krauss, Vattimo.

Does the splintering of directions and forms of contemporary art, along with the dissolution of its aesthetic limits, mean the “end of artµ, the ultimate transformation of its meaning, or rather is it the reflex of a time in which the aestheticisation of existence is one with the totalizing exigences of the market? In this article, I discuss this question through the confrontation of different aesthetic conceptions of modern and contemporary art. The starting point is a recent performance which has captured the attention of the media, the self-destruction of Banksy’s Girl with Balloon. One of the theses whose consequences I explore here, which resonates with what Theodor W. Adorno wrote in the Sixties about the avant-garde, is that even if the artist did it with a polemical intention, the art market has immediately reabsorbed this gesture into the system, so that even a form of protest is converted into a new commodity. From there, I explore different views on the transformation of meanings and gestures of contemporary art, offering other ways to imagine its new limits.

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