Inclinations #11: Contention: Symbolism Against Realism

April 6, 2014

Or Gallery Berlin is pleased to present Kerstin Stakemeier in Contention: Symbolism Against Realism, for the eleventh in our speaker series Inclinations hosted by Patricia Reed.


Over the last years, Realism has decidedly re-emerged from a neglected tradition of
politically tendencious artistic productions, appearing now as a ubiquitous lever of philosophical ontology. Historically it has only ever made sense to side with Realism, not as a style or a school, but as an attitude towards artistic production. Today, however, it could be said that siding with Realism is made impossible because of its current ontological exploitation.

In the late 1970s, Douglas Crimp concluded that Symbolism, as a (pre)modern tendency in art, carried a high resonance with the “Postmodern Condition” since it had most sweepingly countered the Industrialism, the Productionism and the Realism of its own times, setting out a path for an overwhelming autonomization of representation for its own sake.

Is it time to call upon Symbolism to seize the ontologization of Realism?


A monthly speaker series at Or Gallery Berlin, hosting philosophers, artists, curators, and…


The presentation of work revolves around the posing of a question that is the thrust of a guest’s activities. It goes without saying that questions may not be answered, but are grappled with in their unresolvability. An inclination is the force of attraction to a question (without a straightforward response), yet also to each other, as a community who partakes in a common quest(ion).
Hosted by Patricia Reed.


# Arriving at a question is already a departure.
# Questions are a declaration of departure.
# Arriving at a question in thought or activity is also the creation of a trajectory, of inclining oneself towards an unknown goal, yet not without direction.
# A question inclines a departure in a particular way, but a question itself is generic – it propels all modes of seeking some thing. Questions possess the force of bending and swerving ideas/action.
# A question is the confrontation and departure from a lack. To arrive at a question is to arrive at a gap in knowledge, action and speech – a gap that cannot be immediately filled in without the inclination towards something other.
# A question is indisciplinary; the inclining magnetism of a question knows no disciplinary bounds.


In Kooperation mit der Botschaft von Kanada/In collaboration with the Embassy of Canada

Participant Bios

Kerstin Stakemeier is a writer and teacher working as junior professor at the cx centre for interdisciplinary studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. She wrote her PhD on “Entkunstung. Artistic Models for the End of Art.” (2011) and was a researcher at the Jan van Eyck Academie, Maastricht (2009/10) on “Realisms in (Contemporary) Art”. Recent and forthcoming publications include: “Painting – The Implicit Horizon” 2012 (edited with Avigail Moss); “A – Autonomy” (co-authored with Marina Vishmidt) summer 2014; and “Entkunstung – Artistic Models for the End of Art” published by b_books (polypen) also in 2014.