Yve Alain Bois, Rosalind E. Krauss: Formless: A User’s Guide (1996/1997)

9 November 2010, dusan

“In a work that will become indispensable to anyone seriously interested in modern art, Yve-Alain Bois and Rosalind Krauss convincingly introduce a new constellation of concepts to our understanding of avant-garde and modernist art practices. Formless constitutes a decisive and dramatic transformation of the study of twentieth-century culture. Although it has been over sixty years since Georges Bataille undertook his philosophical development of the term informe, only in recent years has the idea of the “formless” been deployed in theorizing and reconfiguring the very field of twentieth-century art. This is partly because that field has most often been crudely set up as a battle between form and content, whereas “formless” constitutes a third term that stands outside the opposition of form and content, outside the binary thinking that is itself formal.

In Formless, Bois and Krauss, two of the most influential and respected art historians of our time, present a rich and compelling panorama of the formless. They map out its persistence within a history of modernism that has always repressed it in the interest of privileging formal mastery, and they assess its destiny within current artistic production. In the domain of practice, they analyze it as an operational tool, the structural cunning of which has repeatedly been suppressed in the service of a thematics of art. Neither theme nor form, formless is, as Bataille himself expressed it, a “job.” The job of Formless is to explore the power of the informe. A stunning new map of twentieth-century art emerges from this innovative reconceptualization and from the brilliantly original analyses of the work of Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol, Cy Twombly, Lucio Fontana, Cindy Sherman, Claes Oldenburg, Jean Dubuffet, Robert Smithson, and Gordon Matta-Clark, among others.”

First published as L’Informe: mode d’emploi, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 1996.

Publisher Zone Books, 1997
ISBN 0942299434, 9780942299434
304 pages


PDF (updated on 2013-1-15)

3 Responses to “Yve Alain Bois, Rosalind E. Krauss: Formless: A User’s Guide (1996/1997)”

  1. KFC on January 14, 2013 5:30 pm

    I think this link is down 🙁

  2. dusan on January 15, 2013 12:07 am


  3. KFC on January 15, 2013 3:21 am

    Thanks 😉

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