Red Discussion 2, Chantal Mouffe 2 by Nada Prlja                              Ink on paper 50x35cm


In 2014, ICIA – Institute for Contemporary Ideas and Art invited Chantal Mouffe in connection with the group exhibition Counterparts taking place just before the Swedish election. Amongst other things she talked about artivism – artistic strategies in the contemporary political landscape. ICIA is happy to have invited you to yet another lecture by Chantal Mouffe, followed by a talk with Sinziana Ravini.


The lecture and talk was held in English.
The program was presented in collaboration with Göteborgs litteraturhus and Tankekraft publishing.


Date: Thursday, September 26, 2019
Time: 6.30 – 9 pm
Place: ICIA konsthall, Järnmalmsgatan 7, Ringön, Gothenburg.


For a long time, Chantal Mouffe has argued the danger of what she calls “the illusion of consensus”, which is based on the wish of blurring the right-wing and left-wing alternatives in favor of a neoliberal social democratic political centre. In this post-political era the citizens lose their capacity of choice between different political projects and their role become one of sustaining the “rational” neoliberal hegemony formulated by the centre parties as the only one reasonable. As a result, faith in democracy declines and the voter participation descends. Mouffe warned early on, that this will lead to an increase in right-wing populism playing the political elite against the people. In Europe and in other parts of the world this development rises rapidly. In Sweden, at this particular time, previous political alliances are being replaced by new alignments where the conservative right-wing parties stand on one side and the left-wing on the other of a centre confederacy desperately hanging on to the neoliberal political centre. By calling their political opponents’ extremists or populists, they create an antagonistic political climate rather than an agonistic one, which is what Mouffe amongst others claim necessary in any representative democracy. Her latest publication For a Left Populism (2018) has just been published in Swedish by Tankekraft förlag.

What kind of strategies can we formulate in this post-democratic era where right-wing voices become stronger than ever and the class differences, inequality and racism increase for each day? How do we mobilize resistance in order to sustain democracy? What role can art play at this moment in time? These were a few of the questions that was addressed during the lecture.




Chantal Mouffe is a Professor of Political Theory at the Centre for the Study of democracy at University of Westminister, London. Mouffe has been an important voice in the European political debate since the 80s. Some of her most acknowledged publications include Hegemony and Socialist Strategy (1985 together with Ernesto Laclau); On the Political (2005); Agonistics – Thinking the World Politically (2013) and To the Left Populism (2018).


Sinziana Ravini is an art and literature critic based in Paris. She is the Editor in Chief of the Swedish art journal Paletten together with Fredrik Svensk, teacher in art theory at Sorbonne, a curator of ’novel exhibitions’ and a PhD researcher in Psychopathology at the University of Paris Diderot where she explores the relationship between religion and laughter. Last year she published the novel La diagonale de désir (Editions Stock), which will be published in Swedish next year.