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The visual arts have undergone an unprecedented process over the last century. The path towards abstraction, a paradox given the highly individualised “figurative” awareness of our time, has given rise to ideas and work that steer our conceptual tension towards the most recent compositions, distinguished by a search for stripped-down essentiality. In broad terms this describes the artistic momentum that in recent decades has focused its efforts on the new way of conceiving the space in which the work of art is exhibited. Bold installations, performances and making a work of art a living thing, the use of new technologies contrasting with that of raw materials, have led to a new concept of art and a body of theory that even questions the validity of museums and galleries as a meeting place for creativity.

Not so long ago Boris Groys pointed out the problem already mentioned at the end of the 20th century, whereby there has been a radical inversion, such as the switch to a generalised need to shift art towards the characteristic “mass art production” of today. What used to be seen as utopian has now, according to Groys, become an obligation: the aim to turn everything into art, which makes some sense if we think back to that certainty of Joseph Beuys that every human can be considered an artist. This phenomenon is described by the Russian philosopher and critic as “self-design”.

This has reached a point where the public doubts the validity of works of art, so that analysts have become the legitimate arbiters of what is and what is not art. Who really knows? Because after post-conceptualism, and in line with the avalanche of creative montages and images circulating on social networks, who is not able to create something that might also be called art?

The study and appraisal of these issues is what is discussed at Talking About Art, a section that features highly eminent figures representing different currents of thought. Apart from their artistic side they offer a lucid discourse on the current state of creative art.