Igor Zabel: "Contemporary Art"


Igor Zabel was one of the key art historians in Slovenia who defined contemporary art as an art historical concept and not only as artistic production created in the present, in the literal meaning of the word. In his text, he emphasised that the term contemporary – as something that defines the immediacy of artistic production addressing complex questions of the contemporary world, on the one hand, and the conscious separation from the modernist tradition, on the other – has established itself in its opposition to the term modernity, which in the general cultural consciousness is inseparably connected to the tradition of Modernism and its dominant art institution – the museum of modern art. He dated the emergence of contemporary art as a specific artistic practice at the second half of the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s, connected contemporary art to the artistic tradition extending from the avant-gardes and neo-avant-gardes to retro-avant-gardes, and synthesised the key characteristics of an otherwise very heterogeneous artistic production.

The English translation of the text by Arven Šakti Kralj Szomi can be viewed and downloaded here.

The text was first published as Igor Zabel, "Sodobna umetnost", in Teritoriji, identitete, mreže: Slovenska umetnost 1995–2005, exh. cat., Moderna galerija, Ljubljana, 2005.