Analyze the concept of Artist-Activist Based on the thought of Hannah Arendt

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Master of Arts in Art Studies/ Facility of Theories and Art Studies/ University of Art/ tehran/ iran

2 assistant professor/ Facility of Theories and Art Studies/University of Art/ Tehran/iran

3 assistant professor/department of philosophy of art/ Facility of Theories and Art Studies/University of Art/ Tehran/Iran


Analyzing the role of the artist in human life is a challenging subject because it has always faced many stereotypes. meanwhile, the stereotypes of the genius artist and the engaged artist, with a reductionist view of the role of the artist, have ignored the power of the work of art in human life; Based on the views of Hannah Arendt, this article seeks to analyze the situation of the “artist-activist” and answer the question of how the work of art has affected human life and what is the active role of the artist in society?
    Hannah Arendt, with her different perspective on human life, considers artists to be a unique group. He considers art to be a meaningful activity and works of art to a higher degree than other man-made objects. Arendt's thought conceives a special power in works of art; The power that takes these works out of the group of decorative objects and other human constructions and makes it a necessary activity in the society. In other words, the existence of such power in a work of art makes the role of the artist a sensitive situation in society that can affect society through his work. Arendt considers the activity of “action” to be one of the three fundamental and constructive activities of human life, and the most important of them, to distinguish it from the activities of “Labor” and “work”. Although a work of art is created through the activity of “work”, in order to be known as art, it enters the field of "action"; That is, it itself becomes a form of “action” in a field beyond “work”; Thus, the work of art redefines and articulates the public sphere. In essence, the artist in this situation is the one who, through his artistic action, demands a new story for every object in the heart of the public sphere, in order to disrupt the sensory monotony of the dominant story.
    In this article, we analyze the role of the work of art in human life from its relation to storytelling to show that the artist can create a new “story” for each object through the work of art in the common world and builds a world of “stories” on the world of objects that are among us. In this formation, the artist is the one who, by creating a new story, destroys the conventional and established meanings, and by creating new meanings and relations between things, questions the immediacy of the obvious. Thus, artist-activist means launching a new story in the world of sensations through the work of art. An artist-activist is one who moves on the frontier of discourses and, by challenging traditional patterns of meaning and freeing objects from their usual connection, reborn that in the realm of art. in this formulation, the role of the artist is not in his direct reaction to the events of society; And it is not in his withdrawal from society, but in his active role in breaking down a particular system of feelings.


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