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Echoes, Specters and the Work of Critical Theory



The fashion of post-theory seems itself outdated now. After almost two decades of attacks on critical theory, on the political Left and on the intersection between aesthetics and politics, the tide is certainly turning. Faced with a world in which the violence of neoliberalism and the failures of multiculturalism are more and more obvious, contemporary art is rediscovering its critical edge. It is not so much a return to critical theory, as a repeat of its essential gesture: the courage to question, to invent and to explore. In short, we are probably witnessing a return to an authentic freedom of thought after the prohibition on thinking demanded by the post-historical times that have now themselves passed. The present is again open to alternatives and it is the function of art to explore them.

Keywords: critical theory, contemporary art, avant garde, disutopia, courage

DOI: 10.24193/ekphrasis.19.2