Critical Realism in Contemporary Art

Around Allan Sekula's Photography

Edited by Hilde Van Gelder and Jan Baetens

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Edited volume - paperback

What is the place of Critical Realism today, given the fact that both realism and commitment in art have become highly problematic notions since at least several decades? Realism in the first place appears to be relegated to the museum of pre-modern styles and devices, safely locked-up in the toolbox of 19th-Century art history. Secondly, in our cool, postmodern times, the place for commitment has become highly confuse. The naïve confusion between Critical Realism and notions like Social(ist) Realism or Political Correctness has complexified that situation. The ambition of this volume is to position Critical Realism as clearly as possible in the current art scene. This book makes a strong plea for a critically engaged art, as it can be encountered in a most exemplary way in the work of Allan Sekula. Sekula’s oeuvre features a number of characteristics whose combination makes it unique: his iconography rediscovers and reinvents the theme of labor and his photos, on the verge between art and documentary – thus creating a kind of proto-documentary, reflect on the possibilities for the visual arts today to deliver an ‘act of criticism’. Internationally known as one of the most prominent artists engaged in this debate, Sekula’s research methods allow us to discuss the ways art can be critical about contemporary social questions without succumbing into a plain or overtly partial political statement.

INTRODUCTION

A Note on Critical Realism Today
Hilde Van Gelder, Jan Baetens

1. CRITICAL REALISM. THEORY AND PRACTICE

1. Realism and the Digital Image
W.J.T. Mitchell

2. Loops of History
Allan Sekula and Representations of Labor
Katarzyna Ruchel-Stockmans

3. Critical Realism
Text, Context and Time
David Green

2. CRITICAL REALISM. PHOTOGRAPHY AND OTHER ARTS

1. Depicting the Contemporary Artist's Studio
Four Early Works by Bik Van der Pol
Wouter Davidts

2. Painting through Photography
Critical Reflections on the Work of Dirk Braeckman, Luc Tuymans and Anne-Mie Van Kerckhoven in the Early 1990s
Liesbeth Decan

3. Photography
Seeing Time / Experiencing Time
Maarten Vanvolsem

3. CRITICAL REALISM. INSTITUTIONS

1. Against Affirmative Culture
René Block's Appropriation of 'Capitalist Realism'
Catharina Manchanda

2. Beyond Compassion
How to Escape the Victim Frame in Social Documentary Photography Today
Inge Henneman

3. The Lottery of the Sea
Frits Gierstberg

EPILOGUE

1. A Debate on Critical Realism Today
Hilde Van Gelder, Jan Baetens

2. Interview with Allan Sekula
Katarzyna Ruchel-Stockmans

3. Photography as Diagnosis of Contemporaneity
Maria Giulia Dondero

PHOTOGRAPHS by Allan Sekula

SHIPWRECK AND WORKERS by Allan Sekula

THE LOTTERY OF THE SEA by Allan Sekula

Format: Edited volume - paperback

Size: 225 × 175 × 10 mm

208 pages

ISBN: 9789058675637

Publication: February 07, 2007

Series: Lieven Gevaert Series 4

Languages: English

Stock item number: 59325

Hilde Van Gelder is professor of art history at the KU Leuven.
Jan Baetens is professor of Literature and Cultural Studies at KU Leuven.