New Tendencies and the Politics of Form


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Friday, May 29, 2015 -
14:30 to 17:00




Armin Medosch


Politecnico di Milano, Scuola di Architettura Civile, History of Contemporary Architecture


Politecnico di Milano, Bovisa Campus
Federico de Ambrosi (foreground)

In this lecture, I contextualized New Tendencies with a discourse on Modernism, whereby NT were introduced as a Last Avantgarde. As a neo-avant-gare they reacted against a Modernism that had become prescriptive and captivated by the institutional system at the time already. NT deployed an entirely abstract language which is usually considered to be apolitical, but in their practice, abstract visual research was imbued with a strong politics of form which aimed at the emancipation and liberation of the viewer. Thus, their politics of form led straight towards participatory art. A strong role in this early period was played by groups and collectives and Northern Italy was one of the centers from where this emerged. I did not talk about Milan based artists just because I gave a lecture in Milan, but because it was one of the key hubs at the time; so I present it as a network whose other centers, initially were Düsseldorf, Paris, Munich and Zagreb, before New Tendencies became a network of near global dimensions.