Friday, 18 March 2016

In what respect does my work fit into an Altermodern discourse, if at all?

Nickolas Lambrianou in 2009 writes in the journal Mute about the term Altermodern:

"Bourrriaud launches the term via a rebranding of the fourth Tate Triennial for which he is this year's guest curator. But also with a book, a series of events before, during and after the exhibition, and even a manifesto, published on the Tate website."
This highlighting of a manifesto, or set of rules, seems to compound Nicolas Bourrriaud's seriousness and his intention as to establish this as a viable movement.

Lambrianou makes it clear that Bourriaud is using a range of tools to explain this new approach of Altermodernism. But he also goes to great lengths to question whether Altermodernism is actually another Postmodern state. He asks whether the description of Altermodernism is simply a way for contemporary artists to release the shackles of the post modern mantle and the associated confusion.
Lambrianou goes on to describe some of the artwork in the Altermodern Tate exhibition, which demonstrates a very broad range of styles and media, yet the freedom that he mentions at the beginning of the article, as in relations to Altermodernism taking in many international influences, he disregards when talking about painting and says:
"It's as if there is an anxiety about mere painting in itself not been quite Altermodern enough."
Franz Ackermann Gateway-Getaway 2009

This statement is in particular reference to the work of Franz Akermann who's large relief canvases are mixed with architectural constructions some of these potentially clich├ęd aesthetic touches and for him, on some level, unnecessary. Yet, he suggests that they have been become part of these works because of the Altermodern association.
Lambrianou based upon his exploration of the  altar modern theme sees the stronger pieces in the exhibition that truly represent the supposed new movement as having elements of narrative or a journey from one place to another. In Simon starlings Three White Desks 2008-09 he examines the history of a desk and his relationship to the journey, a work that Lambrianou links to the Altermoden agenda.

He goes on to highlight the narrative within two more works in the exhibition. He seems to suggest the elements of the Altermodern manifest imply an international movement, that the art work in some way has to demonstrate multicultural aspects which for him seem to suggest a narrative.

These narratives are international. If I engage in an international discourse then am I moving closer to the Altermodern agenda and if I remain in one location is my spectrum to narrow to engage with this agenda? It is hard to know at this stage in my work especially seeing painting within the Altermodern landscape seems to be questioned by Lambrianou.


BOURRIAUD, N (ed.) (2009) Altermodern: Tate Triennial 2009, Tate, UK
LAMBRIANOU, N (2009) Altermodern: Movement or Marketing, in Mute (available at
OBRIST, H (2008) A Brief History of Curating, JRP Ringier, UK, p.10

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