The Avant Garde as Exform

Redhead, L. 2018. The Avant Garde as Exform. Tempo, 72(286), pp. 7-16. ISSN 0040-2982 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Peter Bürger’s critique of the historical avant garde accounts for its ineffectual nature as a political movement because of its relationship with institions. He argues for hermeneutics to be employed as a critique of ideology, and as a facet of the understanding of the ‘historicity of aesthetic categories’.’ The influence of institutions on music since 1968 has served as a central part of its critique: the work concept itself seems to enshrine political ineffectiveness and the bourgeois nature of art practice that ought to be critiqued by an avant-garde. In contrast, Bourriaud’s concept of the ‘exform’ re-conceives the avant-garde as outside of institutions and an idea of ‘progress’ that is aligned with a dominant capitalist ideology. He frames the task of the avant-garde artist as giving energy to ‘waste’, outside of political and ideological institutions. This type of avant-garde practice functions to ‘bring precarity to mind: to keep the notion alive that intervention in the world is possible.’ This article explores the exform with respect to the work of the British composer Chris Newman and the Swiss composer Annette Schmucki, and considers how Bourriaud’s approach to re-thinking the avant-garde might apply specifically to contemporary and experimental music in the present.

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18 May 2018Accepted
6 September 2018Published

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22 Oct 2018 10:28

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29 Apr 2020 16:55

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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