New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2013
In Endless Andness, Mieke Bal pioneers a new understanding of the political potential of abstract art through an intense engagement with the work of sculptor Ann Veronica Janssens. In a series of vividly recalled encounters with Janssens’ practice over a number of years, Bal presents a new conception of embodied perception – art experienced in a body conjured into participation and transformed by the experience.
‘Both a profound reflection on the categories for thinking about art, and a study of a remarkable series of art installations, Endless Andness is a powerful and eloquent evocation of the experience of art that otherwise would envelop the viewer in its singular spaces. In exploring such concepts as performativity, deixis, and participatory observation, concepts that enable reflection on Janssens’ art events, Mieke Bal offers a broad framework for thinking about art today.’ - Jonathan Culler, Professor of English, Cornell University, USA
‘Mieke Bal’s absorbing and comprehensive study of the work of Ann Veronica Janssens is an exemplary achievement on many levels. Bal teases out the playful, affective but rigorous character of the artist’s ‘sculptural’ works, showing how they draw participant viewers into experiment with ‘the ungraspable yet utterly material that exists beyond the burden of objects.’ In doing so, she shows how these works exemplify a novel Deleuzian concept of abstraction, as well as a democratic and empowering sense in which art can be ‘political.’ This is a book for anyone with an interest in contemporary art, philosophy and a more modest sense of the political.’ - Paul Patton, Professor of History and Philosophy, University of New South Wales, Australia