22 June 2009
With Marina Warner and Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster

Video recordings of the lecture

Introduction by Frederique Bergholtz


Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster

Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster

The hurricane of violence unleashed by human ambitions during the last century, was so overawing that there are hardly any contemporary practitioners and thinkers who are willing to speak unreservedly about beauty. Adorno’s statement that ‘to write poetry after Auschwitz is an act of barbarism’ and Dutch poet Lucebert’s observation that ‘in this age […] beauty beauty has burnt her face’ are paradigmatic for the widely-held belief that for any artist who sets out to contend with his own age, ‘truth’ is a better source than ‘beauty’. Very often those who insists on their right to take pleasure by ‘beauty’ are branded as superficial, hedonistic and reactionary. Does this mean that the old and tested alliance between beauty and art has become completely irrelevant in the twenty-first century?


Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster (FR)is a visual artist who incorporates different media in her artistic practice such as photography, film and video, and installation. Interested in the transitory interspaces in our everyday environment, her works articulate the relationship between place, object and user/beholder.
For “Documenta 11” in Kassel in 2002 she designed “Park – A Plan for Escape”, consisting of fragments of iconic park and garden architecture of the 1960s. For “Skulptur Projekte” in 2007 in Munster she gave her personal version of the history of this event, creating a theme park composed of 1:4-scale replicas of selected sculptures from exhibitions – concrete and metal quotations of the original works. Most recently, with “TH.2058” Dominique Gonzalez Foerster looks 50 years into the future. She has created an experiential exhibition, transforming Tate’s Turbine Hall into a science-fiction set where inhabitants of London can take shelter from a never-ending rain.

Marina Warner (UK) is a writer of fiction, criticism and history. Her works include novels and short stories as well as studies of female myths and symbols. Marina is since 2004 Professor in the Department of Literature, Film and Theatre Studies at the University of Essex where she teaches courses on forms of narrative. She was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1988 and among the prizes she won are the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (2000), the Rose Mary Crawshay (2000) and the Aby Warburg (2004). publications in the field of cultural history and criticism include “Signs & Wonders: Essays in Literature and Culture” (Chatto & Windus, 2003) and “Phantasmagoria: Spirit Visions, Metaphors, and Media” (Oxford University Press, 2006). published extensively on visual arts, including essays on Maya Deren, Tacita Dean, Marlene Dumas and Louise Bourgeois.

Marina Warner

The aftertalk