28 × 23 cm | 9 × 11 in
180 ills | 240 pages
Editors: Claus Carstensen, Jens Tang Kristensen
Contributors Ron Broglio, Raymond Tallis, Sven-Olov Wallenstein, Donald Preziosi, Anne Gregersen, Frederik Stjernfelt, Claus Carstensen and Jens Tang Kristensen.
“As for humans, God tests them so that they may see that they are like the animals. Surely the fate of human beings is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath; humans have no advantage over animals. Everything is meaningless.” —Ecclesiastes, 3:18–19
What does it mean to be human? Unlike animals, who have little to no consciousness of their own existence or the inevitability of death, humans are painfully conscious of themselves, the limits of life and the emptiness that lies ahead. Becoming Animal explores the existential nature of human experience through a rich survey of major modern and postmodern artworks in a visually and critically ambitious cross section of twentieth- and twenty-first-century art.
This investigation builds from a literary and philosophical framework that addresses the development of consciousness and self-awareness. Through a series of apparently irreconcilable artistically and politically divergent movements, empty transcendence is confronted by the enduring concepts of eternity and utopia. In particular, Symbolism and Minimalism are juxtaposed as art movements that shaped the nineteenth and twentieth centuries’ exploration of the relationship between life and death, emptiness and meaning, with their specific artistic languages.
Featuring artists such as Francisco de Goya, Albert Oehlen, Gardar Eide Einarsson and Matias Faldbakken, Becoming Animal also includes essays from international thinkers on emptiness and transcendence in modern and contemporary art, including Raymond Tallis, Claus Carstensen, Anne Gregersen and Donald Preziosi.
Becoming Animal coincides with an exhibition collaboratively produced by the Den Frie Centre of Contemporary Art, Copenhagen, and the Museum of Religious Art, Lemvig, which will run from spring to autumn 2018.
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