Altermodern-Tate Triennial 2009

Nicolas Bourriaud

Altermodern-Tate Triennial 2009
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Altermodern-Tate Triennial 2009

Nicolas Bourriaud

Few books introduce a word into the language; this is an example of one that does. The term ‘Altermodern’ is an entirely new one, coined by leading critical theorist and curator Nicolas Bourriaud as the title for Tate’s fourth Triennial exhibition opening at Tate Britain in February 2009. It describes art made in today’s global context which is a reaction against cultural standardisation and commercialisation. This art is characterised by artists' cross-border, cross-cultural negotiations; a new real and virtual mobility; the surfing of different disciplines; the use of fiction as an expression of autonomy; concern with sustainable development and the celebration of difference and singularity.With essays and contributions from prominent writers, art historians, artists and philosophers, including Tom McCarthy, TJ Demos, Carsten Holler and Okwui Enwezor, the book will focus on each of the four main facets of the Altermodern. It defines these as the end of postmodernism; cultural hybridisation; travelling as a new way to produce forms; and the expanding formats of art. Book and exhibition will feature work by artists, both established and emerging, who are either British or working in Britain, as well as others who are merely ‘passing through’. It will contain new interviews with artists featured in the exhibition on themes contained within the concept of Altermodern. The book will be as visually striking as it is intellectually challenging, bringing news from the cutting edge of contemporary art and thought.

Review

‘Altermodern’ is a new term, coined by Nicolas Bourriad, to describe a discernible, insistent sensibility that has emerged in contemporary art in Britain, in tandem with recent social and cultural change across the world.

Bourriad, as curator, took two elements as the basis for developing the triennal – the idea of the archipelago and the writings of W. G. Sebald. Desiring to place contemporary art practice within the framework of modernism, but beyond the label of postmodernism, he looks at the artists as cultural nomads, loosely connected, but not necessarily co-joined. They include Franz Ackerman, Darren Almond, Simon Starling, Spartacus Chetwynd, Tacita Dean, Bob & Roberta Smith, Gustav Metzger & Carsten Holler. A very interesting essay by Bourriad, introduces the artists’ work.

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