Decadence is a hot topic in contemporary culture, or better said, it has recently re-gained importance. The apocalyptic feeling of decline and crisis in our civilisation has stimulated an increased interest in the dark side of the human soul and the world itself. Since the 1970s we have seen continuing attempts in contemporary art to work with characteristically decadent themes: alienation, deviation, depression, perversion, horror, ugliness, beauty, hallucinations, death, suicide, decay, narcissism, pornography, violence, narcotics, illness, madness. Decadent art is subversive, inspiring, it does not invoke apathy but requires formulating a clear opinion. In this sense, decadence is critical, extreme and provocative
After an opening study the publication is divided, similarly to the exhibition, into five main chapters: I. Extremity of Self: Pain (Robert George, Yasumasa Morimura and others), II. Extremity of Body: Sex (Jeff Koons, Niba, Anders Serrano, Joel-Peter Witkin, David Cerny and others), III. Extremity of Beauty: Pop (David LaChapelle, Pierre et Gilles, Paolo Schmidlin, Shimon Oksteyn, Daniel Edwards, Zbygniew Libera and others), IV. Extremity of Mind: Madness (Damien Hirst, David Baley, Catherine Opie, Jake a Dinos Chapman, Gottfried Helnwein and others) V. Extremity of Life: Death (Steven Gregory, Joel-Peter Witkin, Kieth Haring, Ivan Pinkava, Vaclav Jirasek and others). Apart from small reference pictures, the book includes full-page reproductions of all the art works presented in an exhibition for the Rudolfinum Gallery under the same name, as well as photographs of the exhibition. Individual art works are paired with commentaries by their authors or passages from theoretical studies and interviews. The publication also includes detailed biographic and bibliographic sections. It is available both in Czech and English versions.
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