For several decades now, the intrusion of art into the domains of social action has familiarized us with a new artistic paradigm: participation, the relational, contextuality, pragmatism. All these aspects are brought together by artists in their practices, as well as by those who comment on or administer them, opening up a wide field of theoretical and practical investigation from which emerges the decisive question of the situation. Underpinned by a desire to open reality up to unpredictable trajectories of experience, these contemporary practices in art are about working aesthetics back into the praxis of life, into the living dynamics of experience. Such is the aspiration of the aesthetics of the situation. How does the concept of situation enrich the syntax of contemporary art? What prospects does the art of the situation hold for us today and what critical fortune lies in store for it? Different views of the same subject will shed new light on the aspirations of an art characterized by the partial elimination of supporting devices to make way for an aesthetics of the situation, a vector of reclassification of the realms in which a contemporary form of creation is practiced, adapted and invented.
Vaast Colson intervenes throughout this issue. His work is process-based, subject to circumstances. In lieu of illustrating a topic that is less visual than performative, the artist generates interference in the reading process as well as in the physical structure of the book itself. By taking it apart, manipulating its pages and putting it all back together again by hand, he invests the object with a uniqueness of which the production process had deprived it. While calling on the reader to make an effort, a contribution, his approach individualizes the space in which thought is written and lays bare the medium that conveys it. The point is also not to dissociate the art created from the theory that critiques it, since each interferes and plays havoc with the other.
Editor: Sébastien Biset
Essays by Sébastien Biset, Aline Caillet, Thierry Davila, Jérome Glicenstein, Luc Lévesque and Jean-Philippe Uzel
Art intervention by Vaast Colson
Published in 2009
15 x 20.5 cm