Hito Steyerl’s installation Adorno’s Grey (2012) features a single channel video set at the Goethe-Universität in Frankfurt where Theodor W. Adorno famously taught. It shows two conservators scraping the walls of a lecture hall, looking for the legendary grey that Adorno had his classroom painted in order to promote concentration. The “Busenattentat” (Breast Attack) incident that occurred during his 1969 lecture series, “Introduction to Dialectical Thinking”, is narrated and interpreted over the forensic performance. Parallel to the excavation, Steyerl uncovers a constellation of artifacts from the histories of student protests, nude protests and monochrome painting. In her practice, Steyerl employs riddles, puns and word play as tools for ideological critique. In Adorno’s Grey, she exercises the dialectical properties of grey within philosophy, aesthetics, pedagogy and politics.
Audain Gallery: Grey on Grey Lecture Series Curated by Melanie O’Brian with Amy Kazymerchyk in collaboration with the School for the Contemporary Arts’ Audain Visual Artist in Residence Program.
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