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The self-design of contemporary confessional art


Juliff, T and Early, J, The self-design of contemporary confessional art, Journal of Visual Art Practice, 4, (2) pp. 342-358. ISSN 1758-9185 (2019) [Refereed Article]

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DOI: doi:10.1080/14702029.2019.1676994


If the 1990s saw what Outi Remes has identified as ‘the confessional turn’ in contemporary art, more recent practices have sought to further deconstruct coercive mechanisms of ritual and shame. Michel Foucault’s late examination of the confessional and its potentiality to form ‘the technologies of the self’ that break the bonds of confessor and confessant marks out confessional practices as the establishment of power structures that lends itself to its own subversion. More recently the ubiquity of confessional forms in culture and its structural relation to institutions of power have taken on different sets of values than earlier art examined. As Boris Groys has attested in a set of essays (2009–2019), there exists an anxiety of self-image and the consumption of that image that marks out a different set of conditions from that explored by Foucault. The shift–from the ‘zero-design’ confessional of Rousseau to the ‘self-design’ confessional of Shia LaBeouf–has been widely embraced by a new generation of video artist. This paper suggests that the previous oppositions–zero-design = truth, sincerity, shame vs. self-design = mistrust, insincerity, power–demand a deconstruction. This paper argues for the capacity of contemporary confessional video art practices to occupy these slippages.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:confessional art, video art, Foucault, contemporary art, social media
Research Division:Creative Arts and Writing
Research Group:Visual arts
Research Field:Crafts
Objective Division:Culture and Society
Objective Group:Arts
Objective Field:The creative arts
UTAS Author:Juliff, T (Dr Toby Juliff)
ID Code:135270
Year Published:2019
Deposited By:Art
Deposited On:2019-10-09
Last Modified:2020-08-12
Downloads:8 View Download Statistics

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