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Almost NothingObservations on precarious practices in contemporary art$
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Anna Dezeuze

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780719088575

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719088575.001.0001

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Introduction: almost nothing

Introduction: almost nothing

(p.1) Introduction: almost nothing
Almost Nothing

Anna Dezeuze

Manchester University Press

This introduction introduces the term ‘precariousness’ by contrasting it with the ‘ephemeral’. Precarious practices that explore the ‘almost nothing’ are situated in the context of studies of ‘nothingness’ and empty exhibitions in contemporary art. Such debates focus on the ‘dematerialisation’ of the art object since the 1960s, which will be addressed from a new perspective following Lawrence Alloway’s 1969 definition of ‘an expanding and disappearing’ work of art. Re-readings of the materiality of contemporary art since the 1960s are related to continental debates concerning ‘precarity’ in the 1990s, and traced back to Hannah Arendt’s 1958 remarks on The Human Condition. Two different philosophical books — Vladimir Jankélévitch’s 1957 Le Je-ne-sais-quoi et le presque rien, and Simon Critchley’s 1997 Very little, almost nothing — point to some of the questions and methods raised by the study of precarious practices.

Keywords:   Nothing, Dematerialisation, Everyday, Infrathin, Precarity, Precariousness, Ephemeral, Monochrome, Readymade, Work

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