“The transformation of oneself into a universal image, e.g. an image of universality, is, for sure, the most radical form of makeover that we can imagine and practice.”

Boris Groys

Boris Groys


We all know that “critical theory has a powerful attraction for the contemporary art scene. Many artists are eager to use different theoretical discourses for legitimization of their own artistic practices. However, why does an artist need a theoretical explication and legitimization of his or her artwork at all? And why has the global art scene become attractive for contemporary theoreticians? After a long period of time during which philosophy defined itself as contemplation of truth vs. art’s contemplation of illusions and fictions we can observe a growing mutual dependence between theoretical and artistic practices. Thus, it is necessary to investigate reasons for and consequences of this mutual dependence – both for theory and art. These reasons have to do primarily with a fact that both - the theorist and the artist – present themselves as being universal, as appealing to everyone and everywhere in our globalized world. The transformation of oneself into a universal image, e.g. an image of universality, is, for sure, the most radical form of makeover that we can imagine and practice.

Boris Groys is a world famous philosopher, art critic, essayist, and curator. He is Professor of Aesthetics, Art History, and Media Theory at the Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe and Global Distinguished Professor at New York University. He is the author of many books, including The Total Art of Stalinism, Ilya Kabakov: The Man Who Flew into Space from His Apartment, Art Power, The Communist Postscript, and, most recently, Going Public. Groys lives and works in New York and Cologne.

Art Power Communist Postscript Going Public