Photography’s Role in Western Art’s Globalising Visions.

Kalpaxi, Elisavet (2014) Photography’s Role in Western Art’s Globalising Visions. In: Stedelijk Symposium Collecting Geographies: Global Programme And Museums of Modern Art, 13th - 15th March 2014, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam.

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This paper deals with photography’s wider integration in art, and its role in current Western-art institutional frameworks and their wider cultural/geographical inclusiveness. Arguably, photography’s presence in art, in the past fifty or more years, was defined by the work of artists that used photography to challenge art institutions and address issues of identity, and also by the increased discursive interest in the social functions of art. Three recent developments illustrate photography’s eventual de-marginalisation in art: a) the aggressive collection of photography by art museums; b) the appointment of photography curators, e.g. at Tate Modern in 2011; c) and the eventual inclusion of photography exhibitions in art museums such as the National Gallery in London in 2013. This refers to photography meant to be art, but also reportage, advertising. Photography’s integration, which is residually linked to its development as a marginalised medium dealing with marginalised subjectivities, is perceived as institutional liberalism. However, this integration is also seen to neutralise photography’s inherent tensions and referential relationship to the world. This is because the presence of the work in an art-gallery highlights the work’s materiality and obscures cultural difference. Art as a discourse for the analysis of all photography coincides with the parallel decline of the authority of semiotics, narratology, psychoanalysis and post-Marxist critique in photography theory. Through examples of photographs and recent exhibitions, this paper intends to explore the effects and possible wider reasons behind current discursive trends. These trends seem to illustrate a tension between embodied subjectivities, globalising and de-centring forces in late/advanced capitalism.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Depositing User: RED Unit Admin
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2020 13:38
Last Modified: 15 Jan 2020 13:38

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