Slavoj Zizek

Critic and theoretician

‘But fuck it, let’s speak frankly, no bullshit, most of the left hates me even though I am supposed to be one of the world’s leading communist intellectuals,’ Zizek told the Guardian recently. There is no doubt that the sixty-two-year-old, who has held teaching posts at a plethora of institutions, is not only a divisive figure but something of a media-hungry showoff. Albeit a very engaging showoff, adept at using and, in turn, abusing the press. His ideological standpoint, which takes Marx via Lacan, is characterised by a myriad of pop-cultural references drawn into an often spittle-infested, tangent-friendly delivery.

Though by no means just an artworld figure – he had a heavyweight bout with Julian Assange this year, for example – Zizek’s interpretation of prevailing twentieth-century philosophy means there are few theory courses or curator’s reading lists that don’t feature the so-called most dangerous philosopher in the West. Oh, and there’s the rumour he was dating Lady Gaga.