Joachim Hamou and Barbara Sirieix
Tuesday 8 October 2019

The 1923 manifesto Active Art by Latvian philosopher Andrejs Kurcijs triggered a series of responses by writers, artists and curators on the notion of activism, past and present: art for political purposes, art for its own purpose or art with no purpose.

The texts collected in the book Active Art aim at considering the active part of writing according to the definition given by Kurcijs. Contributors include Rebeka Pōldsam from Estonia writing on the lesbian artist Anna-Stina Tremund, Bella Marrin from UK writing on virus structures in language, French poet Laura Boullic writing a revolutionary poetry essay, French artist Eva Barto advertising her upcoming research on economic structures in art and Latvian artist Evita Vasiļjeva sharing the beginning and the end of her notebook. There is a conversation in several parts running throughout the book between the editors and Latvian contemporary philosopher Ainārs Kamoliņš analysing Kurcijs original text. And finally the book also includes the reprint of texts by American writer Robert Glück introducing the queer writing collective New Narrative he co-founded in 1975 and a rare essay from 1982, and by American writer James Baldwin, an essay initially published in 1987 in an art catalogue with a very strong political stand against racism.

Active Art is edited by writers and curators Maija Rudovska and Barbara Sirieix, and writer and artist Joachim Hamou. It is published in English by French publisher Paraguay Press.