This June issue of Texte zur Kunst undertakes a wide-ranging inquiry into the figurative in art. The human body, and the figure more generally, is undoubtedly among the most widely depicted subjects in the history of art. Browsing the exhibition programs of museums and galleries today, one cannot fail to notice that figurative art and rhetoric are experiencing a renaissance. In cooperation with TzK’s founder and publisher Isabelle Graw and artist Jutta Koether, the editors have conceived an issue that takes up figuration both literally – as the subject of figurative representation in painting, literature, performance, theater, and social media – and in the broader sense, as the materialization and apprehension of social phenomena. Traditional figure-ground relationships in painting are examined, as well as the mass-mediated production of the celebrity through identity politics and questions of representation in Black figuration.
I had the honour to have an extended conversation with Bani Abidi, Silke Otto-Knapp, and Anta Helena Recke on their work in the context of figuration.