Artistic Research

Artistic Research
Prof. Jan Bäcklund


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Intensive graduate seminar is sponsored by the Estonian Graduate School of Culture Studies and Arts (GSCSA)
Estonian Academy of Arts
Estonia pst 7, Tallinn
room 24513.-15. April 2011
10.00 Lecture
13.00 Seminar

We will in this seminar address the question of the epistemological status of a work of art, taking into consideration that the aesthetical (physical) and institutional (historical) aspects of the work are operating on two completely different dimensions. This antinomy within the art work could open up for a more precise description of the problem. The aim of the seminar is not to solve this antinomy, but to examine what kind of research — and if so, a research into what? — a work of art articulates. The lectures will address these issues on the background of the problem of art forgery (Eric Hebborn), the crisis of representation (Elkins Six Stories), Aby Warburgs Mnemosyne-Atlas, with the support of philosophers like Lyotard, Deleuze and Agamben of which some shorter text will be read. Some familiarity with the art theoretical discussions from the last four decades onwards would facilitate a lot, but is not a prerequisite as inputs from other areas would be greatly appreciated.
Reading material for seminars:
Giorgio Agamben. “Bartleby, or On Contigency”. in Potentialities. Collected Essays in Philosophy. Stanford UP,1999.pp. 243-71.
Arthur C. Danto. “The Artworld”. Journal of Philosophy. vol. 61, 1964, pp. 571-584 (or in Stephen David Ross, ed. Art and its Significance: An Anthology of Aesthetic Theory, 1994, pp. 470 ff; in Alex Neill & Aaron Ridley, edd. The Philosophy of Art, 1999 or some other edition/translation).

Jan Bäcklund
Associate professor in art history and art theory
Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen
I got my ph.d. from Aarhus University in Denmark 1997 on a work on the history of the “negative sublime” on the background Ilya Kabakovs total installation. Since then I have been teaching art history and art theory at the University i Aarhus, Trondheim, and art academies in Aarhus and Copenhagen. Published some texts on art theoretical subjects, mainly in Swedish and Danish though. Right now I am working on a larger work on “Readymade and Fake” a general study of how art function on the background of Marcel Duchamp and Eric Hebborn. Trained as an artist at the academy in Copenhagen (1986-92) I am still working as an artist on a dilettant level with something I prefer to call “bureaugraphies”. If of interest one rather recent text in English can be consulted online on is a project of the EU Structural Funds