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Poems and Parables on the Political Utility of Art by Karl Katz Lydén

You are kindly invated to the book launch and conversation between Karl Katz Lydén and Carla Zaccagnini at Hopscotch Reading Room.

Like a donkey dressed in zebra’s clothing, criticism can appear in a borrowed coat; perhaps it can even reveal itself in stolen poems. Here, among fables of donkeys, shoemakers and barricades, German angels and non-German angels, and a few lines from Emily Dickinson, the transformative possibilities of art are unfolded in the figure of labor.

Poems and Parables on the Political Utility of Art is a small book. It looks like poetry, but it is better described as a kind of criticism. Taking up some recent disqualifications of art’s political potential, it refutes them in a threefold movement: against the notion of commodification of works of art; against the act of denouncing art as always-already reified from the safe position of a pure, untouched theory; against the notions that art must either reveal our alienation, or produce immediate effects on the social sphere. Outlining art’s transformative possibilities in the figure of a certain labor, the argument is shaped among fables of donkeys, zebras from Gaza, apes from Adorno, and a particular barricade from the Paris Commune.

Karl Katz Lydén is a writer, critic, and translator. He is a doctoral researcher in philosophy at Södertörn University in Stockholm, writing his thesis on the notions of critique and care of the self in Michel Foucault’s late work. He is the founding editor of Found Review, a publication for art criticism that uses only found material.

Carla Zaccagnini is a visual artist, professor of Conceptual and Contextual Practices at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, and guest curator of the 34th Bienal de São Paulo. Writing has an important place in Zaccagnini’s practice, featuring in her own works as well as artists’ monographies, catalogues, and magazines such as FlashArt, ArtNexus and Arte y Parte.

Hopscotch Reading Room
Kurfürstenstraße 14/Haus B
10785 Berlin


Category: Book launch

30 October 2021


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