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Art Of A Human Scale
By Trond Borgen

The fact that this life is everything must be experienceable.
Joseph Beuys

Utopia is the moment where man and eternity meet - the point at which man seizes an opportunity only to see it vanish in the same instant. Can it be made to last? Can man be in the present and in Utopia at the same time?

Utopia is no place. When the English humanist Sir Thomas More in 1516 published his Utopia, he constructed the title as a Latin neologism from the made-up Greek word ou-topos - the non-existent place. However, it also included a play on eu-topos - the good place. More sees Utopia as an island with an ideal society, an imaginary place where human beings live in total harmony with one another and their surroundings. When another Englishman, the Renaissance author Francis Bacon, described his Utopia, in Nova Atlantis, a hundred years later, artificiality had gained ground:

We have also perspective houses, where we make demonstrations of all lights and radiations and of all colors; and out of things uncoloured and transparent we can represent unto you all several colours . . . We represent also all manner of reflections, refractions, and multiplications of visual beams of objects . . . We have also houses of deceits of the senses, where we represent all manner of . . . illusions, and their fallacies.(1)

This unique combination of science and imagination includes an artistic element that is closely related to contemporary notions of different forms of art and how we choose to describe them, both in terms of placement – the gallery and the museum – and as installations. Bacon appears to be describing a kind of alchemist's workshop; and alchemy is the most Utopian of sciences – in its very nature it exceeds the limits of science and inhabits the world of fantasy. And this dream of metamorphosis, of turning ordinary materials and experiences into something totally different, is at the heart of artistic creativity.

In a Dream
This element of dream and fantasy has been central in Utopias from the first ones until today. Indeed, two decades before Sir Thomas More published his Utopia, an Italian monk, Francesco Colonna, wrote a large work that is essentially Utopian: Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, published in 1499. This "Strife of Love in a Dream" is a worldly, erotic, allegorical, and mythological romance, being in fact in its entirety an erotic dream, in the widest sense, in which Poliphilo wins the love of Polia, although he ultimately realizes that she remains unattainable: "Polia and Poliphilo remained alone, and as they were devoting themselves to love, she embracing him tightly, both she and the dream vanished.”(2)

Poliphilo's wet dream is an apt metaphor of the Utopian in art: it fills the imagination and the creative urge with an energy and abundance where nothing is impossible, but where the dream evaporates the instant it is about to materialize. At the moment when man is set to pluck the fruit of his imagination, of his dream, it can no longer be found. Has it all been for naught?

The question is particularly apropos now, in the year 2000, on the threshold to a new millennium. Has it all come to an end? Voices may indeed be heard proclaiming the end: not only do we experience the termination of a century and a millennium – even scholarly books point to a change of paradigms: Francis Fukuyama announces the end of history,(3) while Arthur C. Danto does not stop short of calling an end to art.(4) Such claims are made at the tail end of postmodernist pessimism – as shown in theories of the dissolution of the subject, of the end to the great narratives, of fragmentation and deconstruction – that has prevailed since the late 1970s, leading to a certain lassitude, both in the discussion of art and in art itself.

Man remains a being of dreams and imagination, however. He has never been content to look only to the horizon – he wants to go beyond, behind, to where the imagination alone sets the limits. Oddly enough, it was postmodernism – whose pessimism one might expect would stifle every Utopia – that also paved the way for potentially new Utopias in contemporary art.

The essence of modernism lies, as I see it, in the use of the characteristic methods of a discipline to criticize the discipline itself, not in order to subvert it but in order to entrench it more firmly in its area of competence . . . The task of self-criticism became to eliminate from the specific effects of each art any and every effect that might conceivably be borrowed from or by the medium of any other art. Thus would each be rendered 'pure,' and in its 'purity' find the guarantee of its standards of quality as well as its independence.(5)

When Clement Greenberg formulated this, in 1961, it was precisely the great Utopia of modernism he was referring to. For more than thirty years he had been formulating a theory of modern art: it was an art that concentrated on the effects specific to its particular medium, for instance painting, and that created its own, autonomous reality specific to the work. Greenberg saw the effort of limiting and concentrating as the most important elements in this process; and the content of art was that which was characteristic of and unique to its medium. This theory matched the American expressionism of the fifties particularly well, with the museum and the gallery's 'neutral' white cube to vouch for the 'purity' of this art.

Greenberg spoke at the end of nearly a century of modernism, where the Eiffel Tower (1889) had stood as an early symbol of an optimistic belief in the future, containing very Utopian notions of social change through architecture and design. The Bauhaus School was a good example of this optimism – Martin Gropius formulated the first Bauhaus manifesto. In it he saw architects, designers, and artists as the foundation of a Utopian society, with almost religious connotations: "Together let us desire, conceive and create the new structure of the future, which will embrace architecture and sculpture and painting in one unity, and which will one day rise toward heaven from the hands of a million workers like the crystal symbol of a new faith.”(6)

But by the 1960s Greenberg's theory had coagulated into a rigid dogma – indeed he declared that pop art, which was very much in evidence at the time, amounted "to a new episode in the history of taste, not to an authentically new episode in the evolution of contemporary art.”(7) The impurity of pop art did not fit into Greenberg's Utopian purity; and he did what he could to stem the tide of what would turn out to be the first manifestation of postmodernism. So did the artists that matched his model, among them Ad Reinhardt, who concluded: "The one question, the one principle, the one crisis in art of the twentieth century centers in the uncompromising 'purity' of art, and in the consciousness that art comes from art only, not from anything else.”(8)

This view ignores branches of modernism that do not fit into this model, such as Dada and Surrealism. During the past twenty years postmodernism has, in its liberal use of earlier styles and motifs, reintroduced much of this and made it acceptable for artists to work in a more 'impure' tradition. When Greenberg was steadfastly clinging to his dogmas into the 1960s, his time had passed - the modernist Utopia failed also because pop art borrowed freely from popular culture, making art very impure, and because society gradually lost its belief in progress. Avantgarde art was never able to establish its Utopias, whether they honored Greenberg's theory of painting as plane and form or revered the unlimited surrealist belief in the artistic power of the subconscious. The idea of progress faltered, the liberation project collapsed. This is what Thierry de Duve so succinctly sums up, calling it "the failure of the modern Utopia that had linked together the existence of industrially produced tubes of paint, a scientific theory of pure color, a new aesthetic division of labor, and the promise of a society that the eye's education would free from alienation.”(9)

Postmodernist art has continued the trend started by pop art, embracing everything into the concept of art - which has long since entered murky and impure waters, barely navigable. In this lies a contradiction: although postmodernist theory is very pessimistic, there is a good deal of optimism in some areas of postmodernist art. And this is the place to look for tendencies to establish Utopia in contemporary art: a new willingness to see art and man in a wider context arises out of this impurity.

Following a period marked first by a deconstructivist nihilism and the reported demise of the subject's identity, secondly by a conceptual art that made art immaterial in its emphasis on idea and process - which inescapably led to clear signs of material fatigue - and thirdly by an art that exceeded the narrow confines of the white cube, a number of artists are once again looking for a wider perspective and confirming the subject's position as an indispensable artistic entity. Here, in the use of an artistic subject as a point of reference, lies the Utopian power that this exhibition seeks to capture.

Utopia returns
When Mark Rothko, the master of abstract expressionism and thus someone well suited to Greenberg's modernist theory, as early as 1945 declared, "I adhere to the material reality of the world and the substance of things. I merely enlarge the extent of this reality, . . .”(10) this had an element of Utopia – the yearning to reach beyond the horizon – which we are not necessarily to abandon, even if modernism as Utopia failed. It may be useful instead to apply Rothko's perspective also to some areas of contemporary art today. This exhibition at Rogaland Art Museum includes a number of artists who try to do just this - the stated Utopian intention of extending reality may serve as a motto for this art. A couple of the artists place today's Utopia in art itself. Yngvar Larsen's gilded pea recalls Hans Christian Andersen's fairytale about the princess on the pea, in which the pea indeed ends up in a museum, thus becoming the world's first exhibited ready-made. Larsen encapsulates it in precious material, giving us art as a sealed-off, Utopian sphere. The British group Forced Entertainment also refers to art itself, in their neon sign LOOK NO FURTHER – THIS IS IT, as if art were a panacea containing all that is needed. Torbjørn Rødland moves in the opposite direction, taking art out of its isolation and into society, in his remarkable installation in the city landscape.

When a number of art theorists have recently stated that theories long discarded may still be relevant in our efforts to understand contemporary art,(11) it is, of course, due to the fact that some of today's art is no longer bound by traditional postmodernist theoretical models and that modernist theory also naturally supplies many useful perspectives, even if the modernist project as such collapsed. Therefore, Rothko's statement is still relevant today – although now in a new, different perspective.

It is this Foucault and de Duve refer to as theoretical archaeology : "the archaeologist's approach, which should aim at a postmodern rereading of modernity, is concerned with both acknowledging the 'theoretical service' rendered by Duchamp's reception in the sixties and putting the 'everyone-an-artist-Utopia' into a broader perspective.”(12) The idea is thus not to yield to the temptation to discard all modernist theory the moment modernism as Utopia collapses – there are Utopian qualities that are worth carrying along into today's world of art. One of these may be found in the German artist Joseph Beuys.

A New Humanism
In a speech Beuys made in 1985 he asserts that "a signal-like nature, pointing to the future, is contained in the moderns" – an aspect he saw as largely neglected, despite its relevance after the end of modernism: "There the work of art became a riddle for me, a riddle for which man himself must be the solution. The work of art is the greatest riddle of all, but man is the solution.”(13) Beuys calls this a social art that emphasizes the liberated human being, man's increased self-awareness, and the nature of self-determination. This is where we sense the outline of a new humanism – an attempt to establish humanism once its traditional form had collapsed in the 1900s, through Holocaust, the death of God, and the rise of excessive materialism. Beuys manages, in his theoretical archaeology, to reclaim the modernist idea of liberation in order to subsequently take it along into a new reality. He concludes that "modernity must be followed by a profound transformation of human consciousness.”(14)

Beuys's Utopian optimism envisions the use of aesthetics to create a better world. In this lies an aspect of alchemy, which harbors Utopia. Art is the release of man's spiritual energy, and this was to happen through the possibility of artistic discourse that lies in aesthetics, in a broad sense. Beuys materialized this, for example, in his Information Office for Direct Democracy at Documenta in Kassel in 1972. The humanist perspective lies in his continued emphasis on the importance of recovering a spiritual world that had largely been lost to man. In this way he indicated that the subject was certainly not dead, and he felt that this was the very reason that everybody could become an artist. He called this "an anthropological concept of art." Today it might aptly be called a new humanism, both because his thoughts must now be understood also in light of that segment of contemporary art that concerns itself with precisely this, as well as in the context of more recent theories.
For, considering Beuys's influence on artists and theorists today, there is a remarkable connection here:

Only what can identify and prove itself to be a science of freedom is creativity. . . Anyone with a sensitive eye will find this centre in all of his fellows . . . It is after all logical that the self-determining artist – and I am now speaking of man as an artist – is the creator. I thus take a concept applying to God and apply it to man . . . The deed that will make man free, signifying Christ-in-man and developing human sovereignty, has already occurred – but has been concealed. It has been withheld by materialist ideologies, and also hushed up by the churches.(15)

Beuys here places divine qualities within man himself, speaking of this perspective as liberating to man. When he says: "The fact that this life is everything must be experienceable,”(16) it may initially seem to be restrictive and thus anti-Utopian. But precisely here Beuys opens for the Utopia that lies in the commitment to establish a new form of humanism in parts of contemporary art, with roots going back to the humanism of the Age of Enlightenment, and especially Friedrich Schiller's "Letters on the Aesthetic Education of Man" (1795), in which art acquires its Utopian ambition through a critical role that combines aesthetics and ethics. The French philosopher Luc Ferry discusses progress in his book L'Homme-Dieu [Man as God], in which he states that ever since the Enlightenment of the 1700s we have seen a humanizing of the divine and a hallowing of the human: there is a new, horizontal transcendence (communal bonds between human beings) replacing the previous vertical transcendence (the relationship between man and God). But during the 1900s this new transcendence was subjected to so much strain that not much of it remains.

When a number of artists today are again concerned about investigating the meaning of life within this context of modern humanism, the sacred is to be found in man himself – not in any vertical transcendence given to man as a revelation. This is what Beuys addresses; and it is at the very core of the new humanism. For, in Ferry's words: "If the sacred is no longer rooted in a tradition whose legitimacy is tied to a revelation that predates consciousness, it must henceforth be placed at the very heart of mankind. And this is how transcendental humanism is a humanism of man as God.”(17)

An art that places the sacred within man himself serves as a suitable setting for Utopias, for here lies the potential for defining man as something other than and more than a materialistic creature, chained to the trivial limitations of this world. This perspective includes, once again in the words of Beuys, "a concept of art . . . describing man in the most humanly worthy and correct way since he is the bearer of dignity and sovereignty”.(18) This looks like a humanism that conforms to certain ideas from Antiquity, especially the Aristotelian concept of eudaimonia, which is concerned with self-realization and personal growth.(19) Once we venture into theoretical archaeology, that context proves useful in trying to understand what is happening in today's art, for here we find ideas that use man as a starting point and provide us with a human scale. It is this scale that art may still use in its liberation project, also after the unbounded belief in progress has been lost. Visions of the future no longer rise towards heaven, as Gropius once thought.

At a time when globalization creates an enormous, worldwide economic and electronic network completely controlled by capitalist power, art may offer us an alternative, which is Utopian. Four of the participants at this exhibition do this. Leo Copers has established a network of European rose growers, travelling around and picking one thousand different roses to be preserved in glass containers of formaldehyde. Andreas Gedin's worldwide network makes use of electronics, but not for planned profit – his network contains a humanism in which the individual takes control along the way, so that the result becomes unpredictable. Catrine Nordling stages her own body and sends it worldwide on the Internet, as if this electronic network could be taken over by aesthetics. And Agnes Tiffon wants to use art itself as this network, in her Utopian idea of its uniting different European countries and regions.

The Cut in the Eye
The humanist Utopia includes an art that deals with man and his condition in a world where all the traditional values have broken down. Man has to reinvent himself - become his own creator. The individual has to define himself in a time of few points of reference for a stable identity; and this is made possible by an art that gives us a human scale. This exhibition shows this in different forms – from Antony Gormley's body casts, which become the scale of the terrain's fall from the art museum to sea level – with a new one placed on each contour line each time the ground has fallen by one human height -– to Roar Werner Eriksen's large, nonfigurative paintings, which delve into the human mind as if in small – indispensable – breaths.

But in order to understand the nature of Utopia we also need to understand its opposite – dystopia. The juxtaposition of works in the exhibition sets up a dialectical discussion of the concept of Utopia, with dystopia as its antithesis. Michael Kvium's paintings and video installation give us a profoundly pessimistic rendering of human life - an odd arrangement of bodies and limbs that neither belong together nor fit together in any normal way. And still they constitute a strange totality; and still Kvium keeps on making art. In Ingvar Cronhammar's work we also find Utopia turned inside out into its opposite: his elaborate, polished, potent boardroom installation seems to bar any human emotion or relation.

Lova Hamilton's video also has dystopian elements: in front of the camera she creates a performance in which she drinks raw animal guts, only to vomit them up again. And yet even this may include an element of Utopia: the basic bodily functions – eating, drinking, rejecting the indigestible – will soon be all in man that is left unregulated, ungoverned, and not centrally dictated by authorities. To master – to individually rule and control -– these functions is not just a question of body but also of mind. Hamilton's drink of guts thus becomes a sort of declaration of love to body and soul, to the ability to still grasp and shape one's own identity, both by means of will and through actual, physical experience. Perhaps today's Utopian potential lies precisely here: the starting point must be the individual.
This is indeed what Allan Christensen does; but he puts the individual into a metaphysical context: in spring 2000 he staged a ritual burning of his sculpture Angel's Burden [Engels byrde] in the courtyard of Charlottenburg in Copenhagen; and the charred remains have been placed in a sarcophagus of glass and steel. It is as though he has rid himself of original sin itself – art thus turning into a liberation project of almost unfathomable consequence.

Once again we find that contemporary art, despite its postmodernist aspects, has a modernist element: in modernism there was an aesthetic experience that did not make use of beauty in a traditional sense: beauty becomes problematic, for it has turned into something altogether different. Adorno notes that in the history of art the dialectics of the ugly also appropriates the category of the beautiful: "Their [the great artworks'] radiance is dark; the beautiful permeates negativity, which appears to have mastered it.(20)

When Peer Gynt in Ibsen's play enters the hall of the mountain king and finds everything hideous, the mountain king says that all he needs to do is to slit Peer's eye for him to see beauty everywhere. Once we actually got to see this cut in the eye, some sixty years later, in Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dali's movie An Andalusian Dog (1928), in which a man in the shocking opening sequence slits a woman's eye with a barber's knife, it summed up the aesthetic experience of modernism. Modernism has given us the cut in the eye necessary to make us see beauty also in the ugly. Adorno considers this crucial: "Art must take up the cause of that which is proscribed as ugly . . . in the ugly, art must denounce the world that creates and reproduces the ugly in its own image.”(21) It is also obvious that this is part of a dialectical process: "Even in its equivalents in the visual arts, dissonance, the seal of everything modern, gives access to the alluringly sensuous by transfiguring it into its antithesis, pain: an aesthetic archetype of ambivalence.”(22)

This is what André Breton called beauté convulsive – "shocking beauty" or a "beauty that causes convulsions." He ends his novel Nadja with the following words: "Beauty will be convulsive or will not be at all.”(23) This is just what we encounter in Lova Hamilton's video performance and in some other contemporary art.

What is a Human Being?
Following the twentieth-century demise of the humanism that had come out of the Renaissance, with roots going all the way back to the philosophy of Amtiquity, art has in great measure focused on this convulsive beauty. And, using that as its base, art can now aspire to establish a new humanism. This is an endeavor which seems highly Utopian, in the meaning unfeasible. For a number of today's practitioners of contemporary art, however, there seems to be no alternative – at a time when man is punished by having all options open to him, anything being available for immediate gratification – all has to be pared away and the question again posed: What does it mean to be human?

The answers are manifold; and this exhibition presents some of them. To Fin Serck-Hanssen Utopia lies in the creation of a homoerotic underwater dream world – a world where gay men can undisturbedly project their dreams and desires. Anna-Marie Ekstrand also creates her kind of dream world – a calorie-shock version of a teenage girl's pink dreams, a place for escape, Utopia as the island beyond, past everything.

Other participants give us a human scale that is fundamentally humanistic, although frequently in unexpected ways. When Charles LaBelle makes use of stained bedclothes from Los Angeles hotels frequented by prostitutes, he turns what is often seen as a squalid and tawdry way of life into something positive, embroidering onto the mattress cover: From this pain a thousand flowers could bloom. Faith is claimed to remove mountains. At least it can add water, according to Zhang Huan, who photographs people in their achievement of raising the water level in a fish pond. The performance artists Tanja Ostojic and Kurt Johannessen use their own bodies to give form to Utopia, while Inta Ruka's photographs move close in on ordinary people in a Latvian village, using their simple dignity as a measure of life on earth: this is the human condition. For Ma Liuming this condition becomes a hazard: walking naked on the Great Wall of China, he exposes himself to the most potent symbol of earthly power, as if saying: this is my way of opposing this power – I stake the naked, vulnerable human body against power and authority. I am vulnerable, but invincible now. Here walks a human being – the measure of everything else.

The Utopian lies in the quest to convey the human condition in art, in the sense of the human being as something more than any other creature, namely a being of imagination. Some people, such as the German philosopher Jürgen Habermas, look upon modernism as an unfinished project. When he says that art's intrinsic value lies in "a cultivation of experiences in dealing with inner nature, that is, the methodical-expressive interpretation of a subjectivity freed from the everyday conventions of knowledge and action,”(24) he marks our distance to our daily chores and the trivia of everyday life – he thus points to an art that lifts us onto another level, a Utopian horizon. It seems like an echo of one of the early masters of modernism, Charles Baudelaire, who in 1859 wrote: "I prefer the monsters of my fancy to what is positively trivial.”(25)

Baudelaire said more, however; he expressed full faith in the human imagination, the capacity for creating our Utopias: "How mysterious is Imagination, that Queen of the Faculties! . . . it creates a new world, it produces the sensation of newness. As it has created the world (. . .), it is proper that it should govern it.”(26) This is the elemental Utopian attitude that we rediscover in art today – the need, by means of a search for Utopia, to transcend man's fleeting existence. Utopia then becomes a glance towards the future and a cancellation of the commonplace present: "Utopia is a promise, a projection into the future, an anticipation, a daydream; and critique is the vigilance watching over the conditions that make the dream possible, translating itself into the rejection of the past and the negation of the present.”(27)

And then we paradoxically place Utopia, which cannot be located, beyond the horizon, in the direction all one hundred of Antony Gormley's iron men were turned in his large landscape installation Another Place on the Sola beach outside Stavanger 1998-99. It materialized man's Utopian longing – the transgressive power of the imagination. But, since Utopia remains a paradox, it cannot be grasped: the word itself denies the place it names – the no-place. If a place and a space can only exist by virtue of boundaries and demarcation points, Utopia is another way for us to perceive these two entities: a boundless place – a space "between," as Louis Marin sees it:

This is the merging place of Utopia: a neutral place, an island in between two kingdoms, two States, the two halves of the world, the interval of frontiers and limits by way of a horizon that closes a site and opens up a space; the island Utopia merging into the 'indefinite.(28)

Utopia can thus not be demarcated, limited – it transcends any limitation. For Utopia expresses the potential of the moment, the possibility that escapes or vanishes the instant it is articulated, taking us back to the starting point. When Francesco Colonna wrote his erotic dream, Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, in 1499, he expressed the essence of Utopia, very precisely, since the object of his desire – the woman he loves – disappears at the moment their love is to be consummated: "Quickly she vanished from my sight, together with my alluring dream. . . . An inconceivable pleasure was snatched from me as this angelic spirit disappeared before my eyes.”(29)

This loss is central to our understanding of Utopia: Utopia can only be won through its loss. It becomes unfathomable the moment we grasp it. But through the loss Utopia also becomes loaded with melancholy – for, according to Julia Kristeva, "there is no imagination that is not, overtly or secretly, melancholy.”(30) This constitutes the very heart of artistic creation. Leo Coper's one thousand roses are pale and faded, having had to lose their freshness in order to be preserved. Andreas Gedin's worldwide network loses the messages as they make their way around the globe, having them return as something different. In Michael Petry's video installation burning love is frozen in snow. In Fin Serck-Hanssen's photographs of men in water man is floating in an artificial dream world that cannot last: he needs oxygen and must, sooner or later, surface. And in Lisa Rosenmeier's labyrinthine installation love cannot be captured, since its manifestation removes it to another place.

Francesco Colonna's tale is of an archetypal nature, rooted in ancient mythology: his dream novel is a version of the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. Orpheus, the artist who seeks beauty in his exquisite lyre music and song, gains entry to the kingdom of death, Hades – he goes where no one else can go, in order to fetch his beloved Eurydice. When he defies the prohibition against turning to see Eurydice, she disappears from him. In this loss lies the artist's Utopian enterprise: he cannot reach what he strives for – getting close to his goal, he sees it disappear. Once again Adorno puts this most succinctly:

. . . art must be and wants to be Utopia . . . yet at the same time art may not be Utopia in order not to betray it by providing semblance and consolation. If the Utopia of art were fulfilled, it would be art's temporal end.(31)

The only enterprise available to the artist is the impossible – what cannot be spoken: Utopia.

Translated by Inger Fluge Mæland


1. Francis Bacon, "Nova Atlantis," excerpt in Frakcija, no. 9: Utopia/Dystopia (Zagreb, 1998) pp. 4-7.

2. Francesco Colonna, Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, translated and with an introduction by Joscelyn Godwin (London: Thames and Hudson, 1999) p. 462.

3. Francis Fukuyama, The End of History and the Last Man (New York: Free Press, 1992).

4. Arthur C. Danto, After the End of Art: Contemporary Art and the Pale of History (Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 1997)

5. Clement Greenberg, "Modernist Painting." In Art in Modern Culture: An Anthology of Critical Texts, eds. Francis Frascina and Jonathan Harris (London: Phaidon, 1992) p. 308-309. Originally a 1961 radio lecture.

6. Quoted by Robert Hughes in The Shock of the New (New York: Knopf, 1980) p. 192.

7. Clement Greenberg, "Post Painterly Abstraction" in Art International (Summer 1964).

8. Ad Reinhardt, Art-as-Art: The Selected Writings (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1991) p. 53-54.

9. Thierry de Duve, Kant after Duchamp (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1998) p. 196.

10. Mark Rothko, "Personal Statement" in Mark Rothko, 1903-1970 (London: Tate Gallery, 1987) p. 82.

11. See for instance: James W. Manns, Aesthetics (Armonk, NY: Sharpe, 1998).

12. de Duve, p. 288.

13. Joseph Beuys, "Talking about one's own country: Germany" in In Memoriam Joseph Beuys: Obituaries, Essays, Speeches (Bonn: Inter Nationes, 1986) p. 38.

14. Beuys, p. 39.

15. Beuys, pp. 42-43.

16. Beuys, p. 50.

17. Translated from: Luc Ferry, L'homme-Dieu ou le sens de la vie (Paris: Grasset, 1996) p. 241.

18. Beuys, pp. 50-51. For a further discussion of humanism and human dignity in contemporary art, see Trond Borgen, "The Aesthetics of Transgression" in Andres Serrano: Placing Time and Evil. Catalogue (Bergen: Stiftelsen 3,14, 2000) and Trond Borgen, Her er mitt legeme: Fin Serck-Hanssen og kroppens krise (Oslo: Spartacus, 1998) (Summary in English).

19. See Paul Kurtz, "Humanismens fremtid," Humanist 1/98 (Oslo, 1998) pp.10-19.

20. Theodor W. Adorno, Aesthetic Theory, trans. Robert Hullot-Kentor (London : Athlone Press, 1997) p. 50.

21. Adorno, pp. 48-49.

22. Adorno, p. 15.

23. André Breton, Nadja (Paris: NRF, 1928).

24. Jürgen Habermas, The Theory of Communicative Action, trans. Thomas McCarthy, vol.1 (London: Heinemann, 1984) p. 161.

25. Charles Baudelaire, Art in Paris 1845-1862: Salons and Other Exhibitions, trans. Jonathan Mayne. (London: Phaidon, 1965) p. 155.

26. Baudelaire, p. 156.

27. de Duve, pp. 434-435.

28. Louis Marin, "The Frontiers of Utopia" in Utopias and the Millennium, ed. Krishnan Kumar and Stephen Bann (London: Reaktion Books, 1993) p. 10.

29. Colonna, pp. 464-465.

30. Julia Kristeva, Black Sun: Depression and Melancholia, trans. Leon S. Roudiez (New York: Columbia UP, 1989) p. 6.

31. Adorno, p. 32.