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Avant-Garde / Neo-Avant-Garde

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This collection of critical essays explores new approaches to the study of avant-garde literature and art, film and architecture. It offers a theoretical framework that avoids narrowly defined notions of the avant-garde. It takes into account the diversity of artistic aims and directions of the various avant-garde movements and encourages a wide and open exploration of the multifaceted and often contradictory nature of the great variety of avant-gardist innovations. Individual essays concentrate on cubist collage and dadaist photomontage, on abstract painting by members of the Dutch group <I>De Stijl</I>, on verbal chemistry and dadaist poetry and on body art from futurism to surrealism. In addition, the collection wishes to open up the discussion of the avant-garde to a thorough investigation of neo-avant-garde activities in the 1950s and 1960s. For decades the appreciation of neo-avant-garde art and literature, film and architecture suffered from a general and all-inclusive rebuke. This volume is designed to contribute to a breakthrough towards a more competent and more precise investigation of this research field. Contributions include a discussion of Warhol’s multiples as well as Duchamp’s editioned readymades, forms of concrete and digital poetry as well as the architectural “Non-Plan”. The main body of the volume is based on presentations and discussions of a three-day research seminar held at the University of Edinburgh in September 2002. The research group formed around the Avant-Garde Project at Edinburgh will continue with its efforts to elaborate a new theory of the avant-garde in the coming years.

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