The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Sunday, May 27, 2018

Animism: Modernity through the Looking Glass at the Generali Foundation
Marcel Broodthaers, Caricatures – Grandville, 1968, color slide © Courtesy Estate Marcel Broodthaers, Brüssels.

VIENNA.- Animism is a multipart exhibition project; after episodes in Antwerp and Berne, it is now on display at the Generali Foundation. The exhibition Animism. Modernity through the Looking Glass takes up the current broad-based reassessment of modernity, examining the ethnological conception of animism as it was framed in the context of colonialism as well as the concept of animism in psychoanalysis. In Vienna, the city of Sigmund Freud, one focus of the exhibition is on aesthetic approaches that subject the distinction between the psychological “inside” world and the material “outside” world to critical scrutiny.

The “old” animism—modernity’s vanishing point
By the end of the nineteenth century, animism is defined as a set of superstitious beliefs, as a “projection” and misapprehension of reality in which the “primitive mind” populates the world with souls and spirits, endowing things and nature with life, agency, and subjecthood. At the height of European colonialism, animism becomes the quintessence of civilization’s opposite, the exemplary expression of a primitive “state of nature” in which psyche and nature appear as inextricably fused. In the context of colonial modernity this image of animism operated as a mirror, in which modernity affirms itself by showing what it is not. To be modern meant to leave animism behind and to separate the world in accordance with the dualist di v ides that have been in effect since Descartes: soul and body, mind and matter.

The “new” animism—a reactivation
In the context of a critique of the dualisms and static categories of modernity, anthropologists have recently begun to reassess animism. Avoiding Western notions of what “life,” “soul,” “self,” “nature,” “supernatural forces,” or “belief” are, can we understand animism as a practice that revolves around different experiences of the relations between subject and object? Around processes of subjectivation and objectivation, for instance, rather than rigid categories? In light of current ecological, technological, and biopolitical developments, finding novel ways to rethink the boundaries between nature and culture, between human and non-human (nature, technology), between psyche and outside world, and between life and non-life represents an urgent political challenge.

Scenes of an exhibition—lines of demarcation, thresholds, transitions
The exhibition Animism. Modernity through the Looking Glass negotiates these boundaries by means of aesthetic processes that reveal what happens once the rigorous divides between subject and object is dissolved. The museum, as an objectifying and mummifying device, likewise comes under critical scrutiny. Candida Höfer’s photographs depict views from ethnographic col lect ions, and thus point to the continuity of preservation and the rationale of knowledge with which this exhibition, inevitably, communicates. Jimmie Durham’s installation The Dangers of Petrification (2007) holds up a playful mirror to the mortifying museum apparatus and the Western notion of stone as “dead” matter. Victor Grippo further displaces the concept of inanimate matter by harnessing the energy contained in potatoes in his works and highlighting their socio-political import as “givers of life.”

The archival installation Assembly (Animism) (1992–) by Agency displays a selection of its vast collection of court cases in which legal disputes around copyright, authorship, creativity, and agency turn into forums that negotiate the very boundary between humans and things, be tween nature and culture.

Len Lye’s animation film Tusalava (1929), which consists of thousands of individual drawings, evinces the influence of Australian Aboriginal art and may be considered a “primitivist” work of sorts. In the exhibition, it appears in the immediate vicinity of Walt Disney’ s The Skeleton Dance, also created in 1929, a film that exemplarily articulates the “laws” of the cinematically animated universe. Capitalism: Slavery (2006), a video by Ken Jacobs, takes the question regarding the possibilities of filmic animation one step further by linking the technique of the animated image to the standardized monotonous gesture of the slave laborers on a plantation. Joachim Koester’s work, My Frontier is an Endless Wall of Point s (2007), animating the drawings made by Henri Michaux under the influence of mescaline, addresses a growing divide between the representable and non-representable, between symbolic structure and imagination.

Assemblages (2010) a video installation and research project by Angela Melitopoulos and Maurizio Lazzarato, follows the intellectual trajectory of Félix Guattari philosopher, activist, institutional psychotherapist and co author of Gilles Deleuze. A further extension of the installation, Déconnage (2011), produced for the exhibition in Vienna, focuses on Guattari’s “precursor” François Tosquelles. The two works bring together the two persistent strands that structure this exhibition, the relations between self and world and between humans and nature and trace them in the context of the history of psychiatry as well as political resistance.

The many works in the exhibition use a variety of media and heterogeneous strategies to trace lines of demarcation, thresholds, and transitions across the canonical divisions, displacing, exaggerating, and transforming them. Animism. Modernity through the Looking Glass suggests a revision and decolonization of not only our traditional understanding of animism but also the modern imaginary it articulates.

Agentur, Marcel Broodthaers, Adam Curtis, Didier Demorcy, Walt Disney, Jimmie Durham, Eric Duvivier/Henri Michaux, Thomas Alva Edison, León Ferrari, Walon Green, Victor Grippo, Candida Höfer, Luis Jacob, Ken Jacobs, Joachim Koester, Yayoi Kusama, Maxim Komar-Myshkin/Roee Rosen, Len Lye, Chris Marker/Alain Resnais, Daria Martin, Angela Melitopoulos/Maurizio Lazzarato, Ana Mendieta, Vincent Monnikendam, Jean Painlevé, Hans Richter, Natascha Sadr Haghighian

Today's News

December 24, 2011

Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art presents definitive look at 110 years of sculpture

National Museum Australia acquires rare 1813 New South Wales "Holey dollar"

Denver Art Museum presents Ed Ruscha exhibition inspired by seminal work by Jack Kerouac

Sotheby's New York announces annual sale of important Americana for January 2012

MOMA appoints Pedro Gadanho curator in the Department of Architecture and Design

Japanese Art Dealers Association announces exhibition to be held during Asia Week 2012

Winner of Bravo's Work of Art Kymia Nawabi opens solo exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum

Animism: Modernity through the Looking Glass at the Generali Foundation

Museum of Modern Art presents first U.S. retrospective of the work of Sanja Ivekovic

Art with sustainable solutions: Morrison Studio installs Sun-Catcher, a solar powered light sculpture

Fundació Suñol presents an installation by Francesc Ruiz "The Paper Trail"

Ronchini Gallery expands with the opening of a new London gallery in Mayfair

Sotheby's Important 20th Century Design & Tiffany bring $9.7 million in New York

Guggenheim Museum relaunches Learning Through Art website

Two archaeological sites surveyed on Mount Ararat

High to Host Third Annual Collectors Evening to Help Build Permanent Collection

Brandywine River Museum Acquires Major Painting by Horace Pippin

Richard Gere to receive George Eastman Award

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- New Rembrandt found after being bought at London auction

2.- Exhibition at Fotohof focuses on groups in society who are at risk of marginalisation

3.- John Brennan collection of Rock n Roll memorabilia offered at RR Auction

4.- A Bob Dylan guitar fetches $495,000 at auction

5.- Exhibition in San Francisco focuses on the latter half of René Magritte's career

6.- 'Mad' king Ludwig II of Bavaria lost gift to composer Richard Wagner gets rare show

7.- New Royal Academy of Arts opens in celebration of its 250th anniversary

8.- Researchers uncover Anne Frank's 'dirty jokes'in her diary

9.- New York art sales near $3 billion in two weeks as uber-rich hunt trophies

10.- Berlin's Ethnological Museum returns grave-plundered artefacts to Alaska

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful