The Poetics and Politics of Critical Art: an Atypical Case



This paper addresses the problem of critical discourse taking as a reference framework the intricate and paradoxical relationships a specifc type of critical art engages with both aesthetics and politics. According to philosopher Jacques Rancière, critical art contains a tension between two opposed directions: between the logic of art becoming life at the price of its self elimination and the logic of art’s getting involved in politics on the express condition of not having anything to do with it (2009, 46). I will take in discussion a particular case, that of Dan Perjovschi, an artist whose artistic discourse, I claim, is able to balance if not overcome the tensions mentioned by Rancière. My main argument is that his art is atypical as it is able to reject the models offered by critical art establishment (typifed by these tensions) by merging the logic of art becoming life and the logic of art’s getting involved in politics, while keeping it away from politics, but remaining essentially within the aesthetic field. Equally atypical are his artistic means, an assorted combination of drawing, performance, mass-media, intervention in-situ, political commentary and, most importantly, humor. This type of strategy, I will argue, testifes a different poetics and politics of critical art, that is, a different model of interpretation and practical approach of art making.

Keywords: critical art, drawing, performance, aesthetics, political art, mass media