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Contemporary art is a place of political exile

In the last two decades, so-called knowledge production – a set of artistic practices that are not based on the creation of physical objects, but the production of discourse – have become commonplace in contemporary art.

Now at exhibitions, instead of traditional expositions, people can increasingly meet with artistic research or discursive events, performances (lectures, round tables, conferences or speeches), and artists themselves write more and more dissertations and participate in conferences. Theory and Practice speak with famous critic and curator Simon Sheikh, who took part in the former West conference in Berlin, about the production of knowledge in the context of intangible production, about its advantages and disadvantages, about contemporary art education and aesthetic journalism.

Over the last few years, what has been called “knowledge production”, namely the practice of an art based on research, publication, and discussion, rather than making objects, has become something like “ism” of other contemporary art. As far as I know, this concept is also used in other humanitarian disciplines. How do you define knowledge production in a broader context?

I think knowledge production is connected with the idea that ideas can be capitalized, as well as with the creation of patents, internet companies and service providers located at the crossroads of technology, advertising, and consumption. Knowledge production is an important issue in Europe and America because industrial production has been moved to places with cheap labor: Asia, parts of Latin America and even to Southeast Europe. There, people are obsessed with life-long education, … Read More

Rachel Kneebone at the V&A – ‘Renaissance Meets the Contemporary’

No visit to London would be complete without a visit to some of its world-class museums. Located in Kensington, the V&A (Victoria & Albert Museum) is one of the UK’s top tourist sites, attracting nearly 4 million visitors every year. In its 145 galleries, it houses 2.27 million objects which make up the world’s largest collection of decorative arts and designs. Apart from its permanent collection, it also hosts a number of temporary exhibitions. For many Britons, the museum’s lack of entrance fees gives them the opportunity to access free entertainment and culture.

Since April 2017, it has hosted works by the British contemporary artist, Rachel Kneebone (1973-). Her works have been displayed among the museum’s Medieval and Renaissance collection (Room 50a) to illustrate her influences, among whom she singles out Ovid, Dante and William Blake. Her works also share the quality of the past to convey highly emotive states.

Kneebone has chosen porcelain as her medium of choice. Although traditionally associated with arousing feelings of repose and stillness, the intense emotions conveyed in her works introduce a feeling of movement and fluidity which fits in with her themes. She often introduces ruptures and cracks in her finished works to represent the contrasting qualities of strength and vulnerability.

Kneebone is primarily concerned with themes of transformation, renewal, lifecycles, and the complex reality of exhibiting a human body – both its physical limitations and its cognitive possibilities. A common characteristic of her works is that they often contain writhing limbs and … Read More