n De Arte - Towards a threshold aesthetic of the trickster : reconsidering curatorial strategies from Documenta 11 : research

Volume 2007, Issue 76
  • ISSN : 0004-3389
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Criticised for a commitment to social engagement, rather than aesthetics, the exhibition of Documenta 11 was nonetheless informed by what could be termed a threshold aesthetic. The aesthetic orientations of Documenta 11 are considered a form of adversarial trickster-positioning, possibly creating openings for transgressive art practices. As master of the threshold, the duplicitous trickster seeks out and creates boundaries, since borderlands are the site of ambiguities, opposition and crossings. The potential for disruption is discussed in terms of revolutionary negation or opposition from within the system. Documenta 11 is regarded as an example of the latter kind of trickster in the transnational exhibition circuit by heightening awareness of complexity and multiplicity, including trickster-style artworks that show up the complexities of localised and transcultural production, and undermining global market dynamics by favouring artworks and production strategies that resist commodification - particularly collective and collaborative practices. Making an argument for an adversarial agenda grounded in agonism, the varied post-colonial counter-positionalities of Documenta 11 are contrasted with the single oppositional strategy of anthropophagy employed in the XXIV Bienal de São Paulo (1998). Further adversarial strategies reexamined by Documenta 11, particularly Third Cinema, are explored as guiding an interstitial aesthetic of thirdness, of in-betweenness and resistance.

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