Jonathan Lahey Dronsfield VALS+

The Use and Abuse of Philosophy for Art (as Research)

14.12.2023 / 4pm

Not by instruction but inspiration, yes. Not for truth but honesty, yes. Not as application but dis-joining, yes. Not to know but.. no, co-arranging? maybe, changing our purposes? yes.

Jonathan Lahey Dronsfield is currently a Dobrovský Research Fellow at the Institute of Philosophy, Czech Academy of Sciences in Prague, researching dissent under conditions of repression and in illiberal democracies, and what liberal democracy can learn from such dissent. It is for a book Possibilities of Dissent.
Since 2010 he has had an art practice, composing what he calls performative texts, 1001-word writings to be read out loud as interventions in public spaces (for example IKEA), or in gallery contexts or exhibitions. These usually involve addressing a question of contemporary social or political relevance. After being read out, the texts are made into objects to be looked at, often in collaboration with other artists. In this way he has worked with: Kai Althoff, Francesca Banchelli, Ross Birrell, Ian Kiaer, Benoît Maire, Metahaven, Ciprian Mureşan, Trine Marie Riel, among many others. Right now he is also bringing to an end a more than ten-year art-philosophy research project The Swerve of Freedom After Spinoza, comprising 75 art works, including books, lectures, essays, performances, performative texts, etc.

Jonathan Lahey Dronsfield  studied at St Martin’s School of Art, University of the Arts, London (Fine Art BA), Royal College of Art (Art Theory MA), University of Warwick (Philosophy PhD), Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy (Post-doc), Jan van Eyck Academie Holland (Art Theory fellowship). He has been Director of the Centre for Contemporary Art Research, University of Southampton, and Reader in Theory and Philosophy of Art, University of Reading, and held visiting positions at the Royal College of Art, Zürcher Hochschule der Künste (ZHdK) Switzerland, and A.Pass Institute of Art Research Brussels.


Jonathan Lahey Dronsfield. 'Modern Slavery' (2019)

Elmgreen & Dragset, 'Value System' (2023)

Zbynek Baladran, 'Art Fair' (2023)