PHEB803 Contemporary Art and Critical Philosophy


This course aims to realize a transdisciplinary link between art and philosophy.

It will present some of the most influential artistic movements of the 20th century through their connection with social and political praxis. Interpretative approaches to the artistic work of the 20th century, based on leading philosophical theories and practices (hermeneutics and phenomenology, psychoanalysis, structuralism, semiotics, etc.) will be introduced, with particular interest in the historical and political context of their use. Of particular interest will be the clash of different interpretive positions on the same artwork or art practice.

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Assoc. Prof. Boyan Manchev, PhD

Course Description:


After completing successfully this course the students will:

1) know:

1. The relationship between art and social praxis is key to the understanding of artistic practice.

2. There are many different artistic practices, according to ways of dealing with and impacting on reality.

2) be capable of:

1. Explore artistic phenomena in their conceptual, critical and social dimensions;

2. To connect different critical and aesthetic patterns;


Basic knowledge of art history and 20th century philosophy.

Full-time Programmes

Types of Courses:

Language of teaching:


  1. Art and politics.
  2. Art and critique.
  3. The opposition between Modern and Con-temporary.
  4. The origin of contemporary art.
  5. Marxist art.
  6. Situationalism.
  7. Discussion.
  8. Conceptual art.
  9. The debate about “art engage". Sartre and his critics.
  10. What does ontology of actuality mean?.
  11. Institutional critique.
  12. Performing art and politics of presence.
  13. Contemporary art, archive and museum.
  14. Contemporary Art: Relational aesthetics or aesthetic materialism?
  15. Conclusion.


1. Pierre Klossowski, Le bain de Diane.

2. Jean-Luc Nancy, Au fond des images.

3. Francois Julien, L’essence du nu.

4. Mario Perniola, Le sex-appeal de l’inorganique.