Lecture: Hans Sedlmayr: The Anti-Classical Condition

Lecture on March 2, 6 PM, at the Archive of Fine Arts/Dox Center, Prague within the accompanying program of the Vojtěch Birnbaum: The Principle of Art exhibition.


On a photo taken in 1964 Hans Sedlmayr poses as king Louis XIV of France with a coke bottle. The snapshot reveals his personal cultural critical attitude in a unique way merging together baroque nostalgia and modern consumer culture. Sedlmayr’s oeuvre is preliminary dedicated to an anti-classical canon, which again correlates with the anti-canon of the avant-garde. Strictly rooted in the tradition of the Vienna school of art history, present phenomena structure the analysis of the past. Therefore, Sedlmayr observes the history of modernity obsessively. In a long story of loss, it is baroque namely the work of the Austrian architect Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach, which marks a moment of timelessness and perfection. From a postmodern and poststructuralist point of view baroque works as role model for current culture – a thesis that should be applied experimentally onto Sedlmayr’s thoughts.

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