Post-War Germany and ‘Objective Chance’: W.G. Sebald, Joseph Beuys and Tacita Dean / Nachkriegsdeutschland und ‘Objektiver Zufall’: W.G. Sebald, Joseph Beuys und Tacita Dean

Christa-Maria Lerm Hayes

    Research output: Book/ReportBook


    This book was written in English and German for Tacita Dean’s exhibition at Villa Oppenheim, Berlin, December 2008, and published by Steidl, one of the foremost international publishers of art books. It followed in its design a slip-case of seven books published for Dean’s Paris exhibition, 2003, which has been considered as a mile-stone of art publishing. The decision for her 2011 Vienna (MuMoK) exhibition was, however, to let the second slip case be grey. My book was thus reprinted as part of Tacita Dean: Seven Books Grey (Steidl, MuMoK), and there stands alongside writings by Dean herself, Peter Bürger, Douglas Crimp and Marina Warner.The book lets a dense and previously unacknowledged web of references emerge in Dean’s work through direct and indirect reference to Beuys and Sebald. Her An Aside exhibition, which had been praised as an “arbitrary”, concept-less exhibition, is established as following immensely stringent and fruitful lines of enquiry. In evidencing through example how the protagonists, representatives of three generations and two art forms, relate their works to their field of enquiry and to one another, I am following on from my work on Joseph Beuys (PhD) and the Joyce in Art book and exhibition (2004). To describe and theorize how rigorously researching artists relate their works to their sources, I use André Breton’s term “objective chance”. As a contribution to the discourse on artistic research, this book has been informed by and in turn profited my leadership of the world’s third-largest cohort of PhD researchers in Art and Design as my Faculty’s Head of Research Graduate School, 2007-11.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages76
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2011


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