Contemporary art is often preoccupied with time, or acts in which the past is recovered. Through specific case studies of artists who strategically work with historical moments, this book examines how art from the last two decades has sought to mobilize these particular histories, and to what effect, against the backdrop of Modernism.
Drawing on the art theory of Rosalind Krauss and the philosophies of Paul Ricoeur, Gerhard Richter, and Pierre Nora, Retroactivity and Contemporary Art interprets those works that foreground some aspect of retroactivity - whether re-enacting, commemorating, or re-imagining - as key artistic strategies.
This book is striking philosophical reflection on time within art and art within time, and an indispensable read for those attempting to understand the artistic significance of history, materiality, and memory.
Craig Staff is Reader in Fine Art at the University of Northampton, UK. He is the author of Modernist Painting and Materiality (2011), After Modernist Painting: The History of a Contemporary Practice (2013) and Monochrome: Darkness and Light in Contemporary Art (2015).
Introduction Part 1 1 Modernism in Ruins Part 2 2 Index (Tracing) 3 The Reality of Ends Part 3 4 When, Even If 5 Still There, Waiting (Retracing) Bibliography Index