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The Institution of the Neo-Avant-Garde, the End of Art and the New Postpsychological Rethorics

Peter Tzanev

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The second line of development is Postminimalistic and the strategies, connected to it, for activating viewer’s reactions can be related to the psychology of the external space. Authors such as the Swiss artist Urs Fischer and the German Felix Schramm literally destroy from the inside ceilings, floors and walls of the museum halls and spaces and place in a whole new ‘catastrophic’ dimension the Minimalist art and its physical relation to the body.

Urs Fischer, You, 2007. Site-specific installation at Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, New York.






Felix Schramm, Missit, 2006. Site-specific installation at Hamburger Bahnhof Museum, Berlin.






The third line examines the field of psychological identities through the desire for interaction. The originality of the so-called ‘performance-installations’ is in their ability to involve the viewer in the work and turn him into a major player and character. Artists like the Argentine Rirkrit Tiravanija and the Spanish artist Santiago Sierra create installations, designed as psycho-social experiments in which the viewer is directly involved through his ability to identify psychologicaly, whether he is invited to be part of a friendly dinner or is just a silent witness to scenes of ‘economic exploitation’, which humiliate human dignity.

Rirkrit Tiravanija, Untitled (Free),1992. David Zwirner Gallery, New York, 2007.





Santiago Sierra, Group of persons facing the wall (homeless women payed the price of a one night stay in a hostel to stand facing the wall of the gallery for one day), Tate Modern, London, 2008



The fourth line of development is related to an interest in wide range of psychological phenomena strongly avoided by Minimalism and Conceptual art. Without being directly linked to psychoanalysis, as Surrealism, this fourth model uses the territory of the strange and unusual, erasing the boundary between the scientific attitude towards paranormal phenomena and the eclectic ethnographic empathy to superstitions, illusions and spiritual attitudes.

Authors such as the American Peter Coffin and the New Zealand artist Francis Upritchard create installations that try to resurrect not so much the ‘cult of the unconscious’ but the ‘aura of the invisible psychic presence’ through a strange mixture of curiosity and skepticism about the contemporary ‘psychological slips’ of the supernatural.

Francis Upritchard, Save Yourself, 2009. Fondazione Claudio Buziol, Palazzo Mangilli-Valmarana, Official participation of New Zealand at the 53rd Venice Biennale, 2009.





The art of contemporary installation can be openly defined as psychological media. It is not exaggerated to say that the new function of this media is definitely not to reduce or eliminate the psychological aspects of art, but rather to revive interest in them and in the various contemporary forms of psychological art.

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