The Aesthetics of Value – The Value of the Aesthetic?



The talk is open to the public, free of charge. The talk will be held in English language.

Currently there is much debate about the sense and nonsense of art, and those debates are pursued in the field of contemporary art. The question at stake is whether art can still provide dramatizations of the social and cultural structures that we are embedded in, and produce a form of surplus that is not only economic. The question at stake is if the notion of the artwork today has any other than a nostalgic and/or monetary value. The question is: What is the use of art today? Is it still contemporary?

There is f.e. the proposition that a dissolution of art towards the aesthetic is advisable, because surpassing the clandestine premises of artistic production, the aesthetic expands itself into a much wider field of cultural productions that opens up a different scope, one which also socially and economically puts its productions into a different perspective.

But what about such an understanding of aesthetics, as it f.e. materializes in structures like dis Magazine: is this institutional critique without critique, context art without art, or a formalism that takes its form from the value form alone? Or is the current trend towards the aesthetic and away from art not least an indication of its producers, of a trickling down of the teachings of neoliberal art education, of being trained to be aesthetically disposable?

In my talk I want to discuss those developments from the perspective of an art historian, someone, who wants to claim that art is still potentiated to produce dramatizations of its present. My contention is that it is only where those aesthetics that aim to emancipate themselves from art collapse back into art that they, too, enable a perspective on contemporary digitized life from the point of view of its fundamental dysfunctionality.

Kerstin Stakemeier (*1975, Munich/Berlin) is a teacher and a writer. She works as an associate professor at the Academy of Fine Arts Munich and writes a.o. for Texte zur Kunst, Artforum, Springerin, May, Artforum and Grey Room and works on questions of political and economic media specificities of artistic production since 1900. She was a researcher at the Jan van Eyck Academie and initiated the “Space for Actualization” in Hamburg (with Nina Köller). In 2012 she published “Painting-The Implicit Horizon” (with Avigail Moss) in 2014 “Power of Materials/Politics of Materiality” (with Susanne Witzgall), in 2015 “Fragile Identities” (with Susanne Witzgall) and “A-Autonomy” (with Marina Vishmidt) will come out. In 2016 her monograph “Ent-Ver-Kunst-ung. Dramatisierungen der Kunst” is published with b_books Polypen Berlin.

Supported by the DAAD Programme: Partnerships with Greek Institutions of Higher Education 2014 – 2016 / A Cooperation between the Academy of Fine Art Munich (ADBK) and the Athens School of Fine Arts (ASFA)