• Parafictional artists. From the critique of authorship to the curatorial turn

Brasó, Emma, 2018, Thesis, Parafictional artists. From the critique of authorship to the curatorial turn PhD thesis, Royal College of Art.

Abstract or Description:

This thesis examines the intersection of authorship and fiction in artistic practices from the 1980s until the present. Based on a series of examples of imaginary or partially fictional artists who are, nevertheless, able to function as authors in the contemporary art world, the thesis proposes the term “parafictional artists.” The concept of the parafictional, coined by the art historian Carrie Lambert-Beatty, is here revised to emphasize the capacity of these artists to interact with the art world in a plausible manner despite the disclosure of their imaginary nature. Such interactions include exhibiting and selling works, giving interviews, publishing books, or performing under their own name.
Rather than focusing on why numerous artists from a broad geographic background have decided to employ fictional authorial strategies, this thesis explores a different set of questions: How does the extended practice of developing and exhibiting parafictional artists reflect as well as modify the ways in which contemporary authorship functions in todays’ highly institutionalized, mostly global, art world? And, what are the consequences of the introduction of these fictional explorations into artistic identity for the interpretation, presentation, and encounter with artworks?
In order to answer the above questions, the thesis is divided in two parts. Part I utilises an art historical framework to propose interpretative models to analyse parafictional artists. Starting from the critique of authorship and its articulation by new art history in the 1980s, the thesis applies revised ideas on the importance of biography and intentionality to a number of selected case studies, including Reena Spaulings, Barbara Cleveland, Robbie Williams, The Atlas Group, and the three Janez Janšas, amongst others. Part II brings these debates up to date and questions the working logic of the critique of authorship from the 1990s onwards. This second part draws a parallel between the emergence of parafictional strategies and of curating as a professional activity and discourse, as a consequence of changes in the organization of the art world. The thesis concludes by examining a series of exhibitions and argues for a curatorial understanding of parafictional artists that, beyond critique, contributes to the production of knowledge through fiction.

Qualification Name: PhD
Subjects: Creative Arts and Design > W100 Fine Art > W190 Fine Art not elsewhere classified
School or Centre: School of Arts & Humanities
Date Deposited: 04 Jul 2018 15:22
Last Modified: 21 Jun 2021 08:38
URI: https://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/3541
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