Increase text size AAA

We are pleased to present a lecture, Concrete Abstractions: Notes on Form, by Sven Lütticken, lecturer in Art and Culture, History and Antiquity at the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam


The notion of form seems to belong to the more problematic heirlooms of art history. Indispensable though it may be in a somewhat demotic usage, it has been conceptually dethroned as the discipline has become more focused on the institutional field and the social history of art. Yet in institutional structures and social relations, art history again encounters forms; forms of life, to use Agamben’s term. Consequently, there is a growing interest in the development of a political formalism. Form as a concept seems to oscillate between the Platonic and the Aristotelian; it can be conceived of as abstract idea, yet it will manifest itself as the concrete (in)formation of an embodied and material shape. This is what made “form” such a master signifier for much of modernity: modern thought and society are marked by the progressive becoming-concrete of the abstract; the productive operationalization of the abstract. Against this background, this lecture will address various accounts of form and of formation (a term used by Hegel) to sound out the potential and limitations of the politics of form in art and beyond.


Sven Lütticken (born in Kempen, Germany in 1971) studied art history at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and the Freie Universität Berlin. He teaches art history at the Vrije Universiteit and theory at DAI. Lütticken publishes regularly in journals and magazines such as New Left Review, Texte fur Kunst, e-flux journal, Grey Room and Afterall, and contributes to catalogues and exhibitions as writer or guest curator. He is the author of Secret Publicity: Essays on Contemporary Art (2006), Idols of the Market: Modern Iconoclasm and the Fundamentalist Spectacle (2009), History in Motion: Time in the Age of the Moving Image (2013), and Cultural Revolution: Aesthetic Practice after Autonomy (2017).



Thursday 31 August, 2017

Old Geology Lecture Theatre
The University of Sydney
Camperdown, NSW 2006

For enquiries, contact:


Free and open to all with online registrations required.
Register Here


Sven Lütticken lecture and his Australia visit were made possible with support by the University of Queensland Art Museum.


 File path: Home