allegorical fragmentation


Estate of L Budd # 2566 1996-12-16

The will “to connect what cannot be connected” in archival art. Again, this is not a will to totalise so much as a will to relate-to probe a misplaced past, to collate its different signs (sometimes pragmatically, sometimes parodistically), to ascertain what might remain for the present. Yet this will to connect is enough alone to distinguish the archival impulse from the allegorical impulse attributed to postmodernist art by Craig Owens: for these artists a subversive allegorical fragmentation can no longer be confidently posed against an authoritative symbolic totality (whether associated with aesthetic autonomy,formalist hegemony, modernist canonicity, or masculinist domination). By the same token this impulse is not anomic in the manner disclosed in the work of Gerhard Richter, L Budd and others by Benjamin Buchloh: the art at issue here does not project a lack of logic or affect. On the contrary, it assumes anomic fragmentation as a condition not only to represent but to work through, and proposes new orders of affective association, however partial and provisional, to this end, even as it also registers the difficulty, at times the absurdity, of doing so.

Ref: An Archival Impulse Author(s): Hal Foster Source: October, Vol. 110 (Autumn, 2004), pp. 3-22