Mladen Dolar

Mladen Dolar (b. 1951, Ljubljana) is a professor and scientific advisor at the Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana. The main areas of his research are German classical philosophy, psychoanalysis, contemporary French philosophy and art theory. Since 2013 he has been a visiting professor at the University of Chicago, and since 2015 a professor at the European Graduate School in Switzerland. In addition to lecturing at numerous universities in the United States and Europe, he is the author of more than 150 articles published in scientific journals and proceedings. He has published twelve books in Slovenian language, from Strukture fašističnega gospostva (The Structure of Fascist Dominion, 1982) to Bit in njen dvojnik (Being and Its Duplicate, 2017) and Uprizarjanje konceptov (Performing Concepts, 2019). Among his book publications abroad, special mention should be made of A Voice and Nothing More (MIT 2006, translated into nine languages) and Opera’s Second Death (together with Slavoj Žižek, Routledge 2001, also translated into several languages). He is a co-founder of what has become known around the world as the “Ljubljana Lacanian School”.

Hegel’s declaration of the end of art does not claim that art is effectively over, rather that this is true of a certain kind of understanding art. This is a part of a given historical moment: Hegel said it exactly in the moment when art actually gained true autonomy for the first time.

In the chapter “Self-consciousness”, found in his most important work The Phenomenology of Spirit (1807), Hegel presents his famous thesis on the master-slave dialectic. The relationship between the two is reciprocal as one’s self-consciousness is acknowledged only through the other’s self-consciousness. In a combat relation, one of these self-consciousness’s gives way, while the other rises from the fight as a master. The idea of a master-slave dialectic was one of Hegel’s most influential ones; most notably, it inspired Marx in his formulation of the historical struggle between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. Much later, Kojève pointed out that Marx, in his formulation, omitted a key element found in Hegel’s equation: knowledge/truth is always on the side of the slave/proletariat. This gap that influenced the great French thinkers could not have come at a better time. Following the French Revolution, the structure of sovereignty changed radically, as the new social structures required a different kind of sovereignty. Up until the times of Freud, who witnessed the last “true” monarch, Franz Joseph, the remaining powerful father figures were slowly losing their power. The disappearance of traditional authorities provoked changes in the social structure. Society became mediatized hand in hand with political populism, however, this mediatization received its antipode in modern art.


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