Quentin Meillassoux, Graham Harman, Ray Brassier & Iain Hamilton Grant / Speculative Realism

Philosophical movement rethinking assumptions about the relationship of the subject to the world

As prolific philosopher Graham Harman put it to ArtReview in September, ‘Artists, with their sensitive antennae for the new, have correctly detected something new here and embraced speculative realism.’ Harman, one of the more prominent among a group of philosophers whose work has become increasingly referenced by the artworld in the last few years, might be blowing his own trumpet. Nevertheless, it’s hard to ignore how speculative realism offers new challenges for artworld thinking – curator Nicolas Bourriaud, for example, name-checking Harman in his current Taipei Biennial. Gaining traction among a second generation of young academics, speculative realism’s influence – for better or worse – is growing fast.