Att återta det oformade: en studie i politisk estetik

Project manager

Karlholm, Dan - Professor


Swedish Research Council

Project type



The aim of the project is to critically and historically analyze the development of the conception of the “unformed” in modern Western European art and art discourse between 1929 and 1970. The main hypothesis of the project, and which it will seek to substantiate, is that the artistic conception of the “unformed” was originally a political-philosophical trope introduced in direct opposition to fascism by artists and intellectuals associated with surrealism in France, and which was continuously developed after the Second World War and onwards by other art movements, such as art brut, art informel, taschisme and arte povera. Analysing how this conception was understood, exemplified, paraphrased and questioned throughout this period we hope to uncover untapped potentials of this idea, which will contribute to a new understanding of this theme within art history and (political) philosophy. The prospective purpose of this research is to reclaim the notion of the unformed as a still valid critical response to the resurgence of fascism and fascist aesthetics today.

The participants of the project will work closely together, by sharing material and by continuously reading and commenting each others work. In this respect, the project is collaborative and interdisciplinary in nature and will seek to bring art historical and aesthetic research into dialogue with philosophical and conceptual analyses. The project will result in 6 articles, 1 book, 2 conferences and 1 public symposium.

Cavalcante, Marcia - Professor

Strandberg, Gustav - Projektforskare

Research area / geographic area

Culture and Education Art History Critical and Cultural Theory Philosphy & religion Europe

Contract ID


Project time

2021 — 2024


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