Afterall 52: New Politics

Afterall 52: New Politics


Afterall issue 52: New Politics, 2022. Cover design: Pacific, New York.

March 25, 2022
Afterall 52 ‘New Politics’
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Issue 52, “New Politics,” explores a certain contemporary structure of affect as a response to what are indeed new types of claims leading to new aesthetic positions and artistic sensibilities. And if all are not “new,” the plural geographies and the “minor” archives they excavate and bring to the fore shape an artistic landscape that articulates a different idea of the global that feels both contemporary and inactual, contributing to shifting the positions within sensible configurations and to estranging modes of saying and doing.

This issue opens with two essays on the work of Jonas Staal. Written by critics and theorists Sven Lütticken and Kim West, these texts look at two essential tools of politics as explored by Staal, respectively the assembly form and propaganda. Natalia de la Rosa looks at the Taller de Gráfica Popular founded in 1937 in Mexico City and discusses their renegotiations of “popular” visual cuture, the avant-garde and print media. In conversation with Afterall editor Charles Stankievech, writer Irenosen Okojie discusses questions of form and linguistic texture, the sensuality and bodily dimension of writing, the short story and fiction as well as the “pressure to tell certain narratives” about Blackness Black writers face. Thomas (T.) Jean Lax recounts his encounters with the deity Iemanjá in Brazil and how the human and spiritual worlds are transcended through her presence and invocations and how the deity informs new histories and models for Afro-Brazilian cultural practitioners. Elvan Zabunyan looks at the relationships between research processes and aesthetic in Kapwani Kiwanga’s work and how it draws from Black histories, Afro-Atlantic cultures, Afrofuturism, operating between anthropological inquiry and the tension between the archive and the possibility of fictionalising history. This issue also pays homage to expanded arts pioneer Aldo Tambellini (1930–2020). Hanna B. Hölling looks at the relationships between blackness, mediality and intermediality, while Matthew Barrington examines Tambellini’s engagement with Afro-American culture, in relation to his approach to abstraction, the non-pictorial and the anti-representational. Founded in 1997 and active until 2018, Ip Gim was the first collective to use the word “feminist” to describe itself in South Korea. Art historian Hyeonjoo Kim reconstructs the many layers on which Ip Gim operated, from the articulation of a feminist art oriented towards structural changes, through its contribution to feminism at large, to its championing of non-object-based, processual, collaborative forms of art practice. Finally, Pascal Gielen examines so-called “cancel culture.” Taking a step back and addressing the way polemics emerge, his essay discusses the bipolarisation of opinions on social media.

This issue also includes a specially commissioned insert by Ukrainian artist Nikita Kadan. Entitled SovMod Skull, this series of drawings and collages is inspired by the movement Save Kyiv Modernism that emerged in Ukraine. Questioning the ambivalences of its claims and politics, Kadan has pictured modernist skulls by Picasso as protecting SovMod fetishised buildings. In solidarity with the artist, cultural workers and the people of Ukraine, Nikita Kadan’s contribution is accessible to all online. The editors of Afterall stand against the invasion of Ukraine and express their solidarity with people in Ukraine and Russia who are resisting the murderous Putin government. 

On the occasion of the publication of this issue, we have made the essays by Natalia de la Rosa “The Taller de Gráfica Popular: Collectivity, Popular Prints and Transient Muralism” and by Elvan Zabunyan “Revealing the Past, Illuminating the Future: Kapwani Kiwanga’s Flashbacks” freely available on our website. Read online now.

Afterall journal is published by Central Saint Martins, London, in editorial partnership with M HKA, Antwerp; the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design, University of Toronto, and in association with the University of Chicago Press.

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