0051 Poetic Recuperations: The Ideology and Praxis of Nouveau Réalisme

  • Wood Roberdeau (Author)
    Goldsmiths, University of London

    After having worked on museum and gallery exhibitions in the United States, Wood Roberdeau is now a writer and scholar based in London. He holds an MA in Contemporary Art from Sotheby's Institute of Art and a PhD in Visual Cultures from Goldsmiths, University of London, where he currently teaches on the undergraduate Art History programme. He has become increasingly interested in the capacity for artworks to affect and enhance common experiences and exchanges in terms of duration, relationality, urban and rural domesticities, culinary materialism, and the reconfiguration of readymade objects. His research involves the merging of art theory and aesthetics with sociologies and philosophies of everyday living.

Identifiers (Article)


Taking previously un-translated writings of critic Pierre Restany as a primary source, this article demonstrates how his vision for the Nouveau Réaliste movement of the 1950s and 1960s demands a detailed and theoretical (rather than historically contextual) exploration of its attempt to reconcile visual art with the quotidian. Accordingly, Bürger's criticism of the historical and neo-avant-gardes is weighed against theories of aesthetics and politics from Adorno to Rancière. In addition, Heidegger's work on the art object, alongside Benjamin's interest in Hölderlin, serves to inform an analysis of Restany's investment in a concept of the 'poetry of the real'. Individual works by Niki de Saint-Phalle, Daniel Spoerri and Yves Klein are also investigated as exemplars of the Nouveau Réaliste ideology. My interest in Restany's life and work stems from recent art world concentrations on the banal or 'infra-ordinary' and its relation to similar concerns within sociology.


Revaluating the Neo-avant-garde, Aesthetics and Politics, Countertopographies, Mining the Poetic, Intuitive Gestures, Everyday Deviance, Martin Heidegger, Walter Benjamin, Theodor W. Adorno, Nike de Saint Phalle, Daniel Spoerri, Yves Klein