Professor: Raphaël Pirenne
Starting from the assessment that every artistic practice is directly and/or indirectly informed by its cultural, economical and political integration within a given society, this course will focus on the many relations artistic practices have engaged with society since the second half of the 20th century, exploring their capacity to position themselves, to question and contribute to displacements and even critical challenges within society. While remaining open to cross-sectional historical investigations, the course will begin with a detailed analysis of Joseph Beuys’ practice, which addressed the essential issue of the articulation between art and society in many ways (the notion of “social sculpture”, the status of the artist’s position in postwar Germany and Europe, questioning the idea of democratic principles). This introduction will be immediately followed by a reading of Michel Foucault analysis of the relations between power and society in 1970s College de France lectures on biopolitics. This exploration will provide a better grasp on the still vivid and decisive stakes of the twofold necessity to assess and analyze the structuring principles of a societal given.