A selection of Jan Verwoert's most recent writings.
is a sequel to Verwoert's Tell Me What You Want, What You Really, Really Want
(edited by Vanessa Ohlraun, 2010), and third in a series of books published with the Piet Zwart Institute.
If we don't merely reduce art to clever code play in the arenas of representation, how do we speak about what is at stake? In response to this question, Verwoert addresses the forces at the heart of the tragicomedy that making, showing, and critiquing art implicates us in. He honors the basic joys of turning one thing into another, and the miracles of rhythm and rhyme that characterize the residual level of mimetic magic in art. In this key, the unverifiable is practiced daily: bodies are remade, feelings transfigured. As Alina Szapocznikow wrote, the mouth chews and out comes sculpture. Verwoert's COOKIE!
renders visible the endless emotional labor of setting the stage (for others), poses the thorny question of whether there could ever be a labor union for con-artists (like us), and gestures toward an ethics of disappointment to battle false expectations and as a way to come to terms with the fact that, no matter how you look at it, criticism hurts.
Jan Verwoert (born 1972) is an art historian and critic based in Berlin. He is a contributing editor at Frieze and writes regularly about contemporary art for magazines such as Afterall and Metropolis M. A member of the advisory board of the Kunstverein Munich and Guest Professor of Contemporary Art and Theory at the Academy of Umeå, he teaches in the Fine Arts MA program at the Piet Zwart Institute, Rotterdam, and at the Royal College of Art in London.