Jonathan Lahey Dronsfield

Text by Sarah Oberrauch

This text in English

In Jonathan Lahey Dronsfield's work the interest lies in the word: “Not the word after practice but the word as practice, not theory before practice but theory as practice.”1 In this sense, theory is understood as artistic practice. What art says and what can be said about art is what constitutes his research. “Reading out loud Spinoza” is an ongoing project by Jonathan Lahey Dronsfield. During the performative lecture, Spinoza's Ethik is read aloud over the course of twenty-four hours, taking the transcription of the previous performance as its starting point, including its repetitions, mistakes and comments. Each participant is invited to read aloud and thus become part of the bodily effect influencing the text. These arduous performances aim to transform text into practice and thus adequately appreciate the quote “no-one knows what a body can do“ by Spinoza.

Jonathan Lahey Dronsfield is a British philosophy professor and artist-philosopher. Recently he has performed at Manifesta 11 Zürich and MACBA Barcelona, and has shown work at the New Museum of Contemporary Art (MNAC) Bucharest, and was selected for the first Mobile Biennale in Oltenia, Romania. The Spinoza project involves giving a 24-hour reading of The Ethics. The performative reading follows the principle of the chain-reaction: the reading is recorded, including the discussion, and for the next iteration that entire transcript is read out loud, generating further discussion for the next transcript, and so on. With this project he was already invited to the N Raum Gallery Berlin, and KaaiTheater Studios Brussels, and the next reading will be staged in Eppan.
Dronsfield has given performative readings of his texts at many galleries, among them Wilkinson Gallery London, Focal Point Gallery Southend-on-Sea, Extra City Kunsthal Antwerp, Stroom Den Haag, S.M.A.K. Gent, Pallas Contemporary Projects Dublin, Sketch Gallery London, and at various other locations, such as Cabaret Voltaire Zürich, L’institut francais London, and IKEA Ashton-under-Lyme.
He has had work included in a number of exhibitions, including la Biennale di Venezia 54 and art:gwanju 12; and has worked collaboratively with artists including Kai Althoff, Francesca Banchelli, Ian Kiaer, Gregory Maass & Nayoungim, Benoït Maire, and Haroon Mirza.