Emma Shercliff

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Exposition: Towards a Non-Identity Art (01/01/2013) by Rory Harron
Emma Shercliff 16/12/2013 at 11:50

The subject of the exposition – a proposal to expand and democratise the art world through the concept of ‘non-identity art’ - is interesting and timely, particularly as art made by non-initiates to the art world currently attracts critical attention, and especially because of the increased visibility of artworks made possible for many by the internet.
 
A definition of ‘non-identity art’ might prove precarious as, for instance found works made by unknown makers differ in intention from works exhibited in juryless exhibitions, and as the author rightly points out, a dogmatic over-identification with any one tendency in art is problematic. Harron makes a convincing argument for what he considers to be the role of ‘non-identity art’ informed in large part by Theodor Adorno’s non-identity thought, concluding that: “non-identity art can never be realised…. Ultimately, the theorisation of a non-identity art is a polemic to engender further thought and debate on the authorship and ownership of the field of art”. The reader is directed through a confident discussion of the political and art historical contexts of vanguardist strategies of self-negation in art, which is in turn situated within contemporary debates on curatorship.
 
The exposition has a largely theoretical foundation and the works presented appear to respond to a specific political and art historical context. However, it is refreshing to read the author proposing to centre this contribution on the artist and the artworks through his own practice of making, experiencing and curating artworks. To my mind this raises interesting questions for artistic research; placing emphasis on the processes of making, distributing and consuming art reveals the contribution of art practice to research as a method that, whilst attempting to conform to the academy, subjects itself to self-negation, yet in so doing can challenge and renew the field.




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