C

Decolonization practices


Power structures underlie the relation between cultures. This is not the outcome of the encounters of different cultures and the seemingly natural duality resulting out of them, but of the assumption of the superiority of one culture above the other. A fallacy with major consequences as the history of colonialism dramatically proves. Since Eurocentric thinking became the hegemonic episteme around the world due to the conditions of specific historical processes, it generated power structures capable of regulating relations between cultures. Without questioning the assumed certainty of its own standpoint, it constructed foreign cultures as inferior ‘others’. Furthermore, it implemented its own epistemic system in their societies, controlling that way the means of representation.

     Although in the contemporary world, postcolonial issues, as pointed out by several theorists (Edward Said, Gayatri Spivak, Homi K. Bhabha, Toni Morrison, Walter D. Mignolo), constitute one of the most important concerns of culture, the production of art is embedded in a paradox system of relations. On the one hand, a global reorganization of the art world has taken place since the late 1980s that not only questions cultural hegemonic demands but also promotes an exchange that crosses the borders between cultures and continents. On the other hand, a specific tradition of aesthetics, founded on Western art and culture, claims a cultural hegemony reproduced by the institutional art system as well as by the art market. The destabilization and alteration of these patterns represent a way both for testing new definitions of the concept of work and for articulating a critical speech that problematizes each form of already existing dominance as a result of colonial structures.