[NetBehaviour] pourinfos.org [apostils] : Displaying works of art. Some remarks about exhibition design. |Jerome Glicenstein|

xavier cahen cahen.x at levels9.com
Fri Sep 29 17:41:05 CEST 2006

Look it's here !
OK it's not completely square, retangle... if you want...



Geert Dekkers a écrit :
> Show me :)
> Geert
> On 28/09/2006, at 4:43 PM, xavier cahen wrote:
>> Geert Dekkers a écrit :
>>> Thanks for this. RIght in the middle of my own studies into the 
>>> "black cube" (as opposed the the white one) and duration on 
>>> http://nznl.com
>>> Geert
>> Is it really black and cube ? mine is gray, flat and square...
>> yours
>> xavier
>>> On 28/09/2006, at 11:12 AM, xavier cahen wrote:
>>>> pourinfos.org
>>>> ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 
>>>> [apostils] [apostils] [apostils] [apostils] [apostils] [apostils] 
>>>> [apostils]
>>>> ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 
>>>> Displaying works of art. Some remarks about exhibition design.
>>>> By Jérôme Glicenstein
>>>> The issue regarding exhibition design is widely ignored and 
>>>> misunderstood, since the display designer’s work is often confused 
>>>> with the curator’s or the artist’s. This stems from the fact that 
>>>> some exhibition designers also can be artists, architects, 
>>>> decorators or interior designers. The misconception surrounding 
>>>> exhibition designers can also be explained by the fact that they 
>>>> can simultaneously be theater-set designers, working for art and 
>>>> science museums, private galleries, biennials and professional 
>>>> shows. The task itself seems difficult to define since it varies 
>>>> from hanging paintings in a row (as seen in large museums) to 
>>>> putting up a few nails in a gallery. The work could go completely 
>>>> unnoticed, while some display designers including Robert Wilson, 
>>>> Philippe Starck or Jean Nouvel are recognized as major creators.
>>>> However, exhibition display has existed for a long time, at least 
>>>> since art has been shown outside its original context. This is why, 
>>>> since the creation of the “Salon officiel” set in France (at the 
>>>> end of the 17th century), one of the curators’ main functions was 
>>>> to display art pieces in such a way that they relate to each other 
>>>> thus proposing a certain order to the visitors. At first, this 
>>>> approach was not necessarily related to “aesthetics” but followed 
>>>> academic and genres priorities and other rules of etiquette. At 
>>>> first, curators were Academy members; later on however, during the 
>>>> whole existence of the Salon, it was the artists themselves who 
>>>> arranged exhibitions display. Artists as different as Chardin, 
>>>> Renoir, Matisse or Léger occasionally played this role at the 
>>>> salons [1].
>>>> The “Golden Era” of exhibition design was during the 1920’s and 
>>>> 30’s, when many museums were reorganized and the first museums of 
>>>> modern art came into existence.
>>>> Many of the modern art protagonists of the time were involved, 
>>>> Alexander Dorner, Alfred Barr, René d’Harnoncourt, Louis Hautecœur, 
>>>> El Lissitzky, Herbert Bayer or Frederick Kiesler... Lissitzky 
>>>> summarized pretty well the passage regarding wall set-up within the 
>>>> arrangement of the whole space: “One doesn’t look at the space 
>>>> through a keyhole, nor through an open door. The space is not only 
>>>> meant for the eyes, it is not a painting: one wants to live 
>>>> within”. He also added that it was an odd experience, “a genuine 
>>>> and moving experience” that could not be reduced to a sole instant. 
>>>> “During an exhibition, one strolls around. This is the reason why 
>>>> the space should be planned in a way to allow visitors to move 
>>>> around freely. He explained how important it was that the public 
>>>> physically react to the pieces shown in the exhibition [2] ”. 
>>>> During the same period and with a similar commitment of “involving” 
>>>> the visitors, Frederick Kiesler perfected several systems of 
>>>> displaying paintings that he called “vision machines”.
>>>> These machines allowed visitors to adjust the height of images and 
>>>> objects, (consequently modifying the “whole cohesion” of the 
>>>> exhibition [3] ). Other display designers incorporated the concept 
>>>> of “physiological” factors in the disposition of the space. This is 
>>>> the case of Herbert Bayer, whose “limitations of the field of 
>>>> vision” diagrams meant to define the “conditions of the visit” from 
>>>> a “scientific” and “deterministic” point of view. He explains that 
>>>> “an exhibition… paintings… or photographs, are only a part… of new 
>>>> and complex means of communication. A particular theme in an 
>>>> exhibition… should penetrate and move the visitor inside. It 
>>>> should… lead him to a direct and pre-planned reaction [4] ”.
>>>> Recently, the question about the limits between the artist’s 
>>>> involvement and the exhibition designer’s has been debated. Would 
>>>> the way that light is projected on a work of art be part of the 
>>>> design? Should the artist decide on the color of the walls, the 
>>>> choice of furniture, the labels and information signs? Louis Marin 
>>>> accurately remarked that: “displaying works of art is not a minor 
>>>> task unrelated with the art, but the continuity of the production 
>>>> of the work of art; the term of production - to bring, to move the 
>>>> work of art “forward”- implies that art display ought to be 
>>>> recognized as a full part of the art [5] ”. Installations shows are 
>>>> obvious and common illustrations of this type of problems. The work 
>>>> of art and its design are often overlapping and become almost 
>>>> identical. For example, during the 1999 Venice Biennial, a video 
>>>> installation by Scottish artist Douglas Gordon showed the same two 
>>>> scenes of Taxi Driver in a loop slightly unsynchronized on two 
>>>> opposite walls of a room. Obviously this was not a screening of 
>>>> Martin Scorsese’s film Taxi Driver, but rather a creation based on 
>>>> a “re-interpretation” and a different display of the same film. 
>>>> Many similar examples could be found. Actually, some site specific 
>>>> works tend to be practically inseparable from their design. The 
>>>> only elements that eventually escape being part of the work of art 
>>>> would be the “labels”, “information signs” and “paths” of access, 
>>>> the light and the architecture of the site.
>>>> Problems caused by transforming pieces that were not conceived to 
>>>> be shown in the field of fine arts are quite different: literature, 
>>>> sound pieces, films, performances, Internet sites… and to a lesser 
>>>> extent some forms of non-western art, design, graphics, 
>>>> architecture, etc…Then, the vocation of exhibition designers 
>>>> becomes the creation of pieces to be exhibited. In literature, it 
>>>> means isolating text fragments, creating reading lounges or public 
>>>> readings; in architecture, it could be working on 
>>>> “representations”, sketches, plans, photographs, models, 
>>>> prototypes, synthesized image animations, etc… In performing arts, 
>>>> sketches, photos, recordings or even performances and concerts are 
>>>> often programmed in the exhibition space, or close to the space. 
>>>> The case of non-western arts or “applied arts” is somehow different 
>>>> since it implies choosing between a “documentary” approach (movies, 
>>>> photos, documents, lectures, etc…) and an “aesthetic” approach 
>>>> (setting up objects on stands, isolation, light set up). These 
>>>> “adaptations” are implying that an exhibition cannot be planned 
>>>> without a “pre-definition” of the objects to be exhibited. 
>>>> Moreover, some of the objects needing to be adapted to an 
>>>> exhibition format are sometimes “re-invented for the occasion”. 
>>>> Recently the development of “reading spaces” within the exhibitions 
>>>> -for example, at the Palais de Tokyo – shows the need to constantly 
>>>> generate new ways accessing contemporary art. This is a crucial 
>>>> issue in the case of interactive creations; creations which are 
>>>> usually more “hands-on” than “meant to be exhibited” in the 
>>>> traditional sense.
>>>> In recent years, exhibition designers’ most prevalent problem in 
>>>> the context of their task in contemporary art exhibits is related 
>>>> to films or videos presentations. One of the main challenges is the 
>>>> length of the show: while movie theaters are adapted to feature 
>>>> films, art shows are not. Françoise Parfait questions: “How is it 
>>>> possible to stand in an open space watching an half an hour 
>>>> monoband screening (the audience not having any clue about the 
>>>> duration of the film) when it is primordial to watch the whole film 
>>>> from the beginning in order to grasp its meaning? Should we propose 
>>>> video rooms or viewing lounges in museums and art centers [6]? ”. ” 
>>>> This issue became critical during Kassel’s latest Documenta (in 
>>>> 2002) when hundreds of hours of video projection were presented (it 
>>>> was virtually impossible to sit through them all). How can one have 
>>>> a satisfactory level of concentration when the projection is 
>>>> drowned in the middle of the “flow” of an exhibition? How could the 
>>>> problem of sound interference be solved when several videos are 
>>>> screened simultaneously? Most probably, these issues initiated the 
>>>> introduction of expressions such as “exhibition cinema” or 
>>>> “installed cinema” to label some cinema styles foreign to a more 
>>>> “classical” cinema presentation that could only be achieved via 
>>>> contemporary art shows. The issue of animated images exhibitions 
>>>> highlights the way relations are managed - relations between works 
>>>> of art and the public as well as relations between members of the 
>>>> public. In fact, “an exhibition (…) is an installation setting-up 
>>>> things and people in a same place [7] ”. The space is not only 
>>>> organized around the art works, but also to meet the public needs 
>>>> in order to ensure a most satisfactory visit. During the 19th 
>>>> century, visiting large exhibitions , such as at the Salon’s, meant 
>>>> putting up with dreadful conditions which were a permanent source 
>>>> of ironic comments in the press of the time; it is not the case 
>>>> now, with an increased number of lounges, audio-guides, cafeterias 
>>>> and souvenir shops showing an on-going concern to optimize the 
>>>> experience.
>>>> Two points have been raised regarding visitors’ remarks and the 
>>>> ways to “utilize” the exhibition. The first refers to the fact that 
>>>> while studying visitors “habits”, it becomes necessary to “model” 
>>>> their journey. Thus, since the 1920’s, specific studies have been 
>>>> conducted to determine the optimum quantity of works of art to show 
>>>> and the best placement for them in the space provided. These 
>>>> studies showed that visitors behavior varied in a relatively 
>>>> “predictable” way, according to the background, the type of 
>>>> exhibition, the room layout, the paths proposed, the number of 
>>>> objects, etc., something that doesn’t go without consequences on 
>>>> the exhibition design [8] . The second point derives from the first 
>>>> and is a more “critical” one. It has been made by media-historian 
>>>> Jonathan Crary and is related to the fact that visitors of an 
>>>> exhibition are usually “observers”, in the sense that they 
>>>> “observe”, they “respect”- rules, codes, instructions and uses that 
>>>> are imposed. Crary thinks that: “ Evident as it may seem, a person 
>>>> who sees -an observer- is above all, a person who sees within the 
>>>> frame of a pre-determined range of possibilities, a person who is 
>>>> inscribed within a system of conventions and limits”. As announced 
>>>> by a text distributed at the entrance of the 1901 “Pan-American” 
>>>> Exhibition: “We are asking you to remember that once you cross the 
>>>> threshold, you are a part of the exhibition [9] ”.
>>>> The issue surrounding the value of the design of an exhibition has 
>>>> often been raised over the last forty years as it became obvious 
>>>> that these designs project a “sense” and various curators started 
>>>> claiming authorship over specific designs as expression of their 
>>>> “artistic creation”. A creative “set-up” could actually bring 
>>>> significant changes over to a work of art (or a collection of works 
>>>> of art). A painting by Manet positioned next to a painting by 
>>>> Velasquez develops consequences on their “readings [10] . An 
>>>> exhibition design is a largely subjective exercise based on 
>>>> permanent de-composition and re-composition”. It is never neutral: 
>>>> Éric Troncy chose to exhibit a naked woman photographed by Helmut 
>>>> Newton next to a plaster Virgin by Katarina Fritzsch or a Bernard 
>>>> Buffet’s painting in front of a mural by Sol Lewitt thus provoking 
>>>> some critics’ despair [11] . The “relations” between works of art 
>>>> are defined by the exhibition designer and highlight their specific 
>>>> “comprehensions” inherent in their design itself. Is it possible to 
>>>> keep intact the memory of such meaningful juxtapositions? As early 
>>>> as the 1930’s, the MoMA began exhibiting images and documents 
>>>> related to certain “historical” exhibition designs, regardless of 
>>>> their status [12] ”. More recently, and soon after the 1970’s, some 
>>>> display techniques have been re-created within the exhibitions. 
>>>> That was the case for “Paris-New York” (1977) and “Paris-Paris” 
>>>> (1981). A large number of recent exhibitions have followed this 
>>>> trend, notably the “Dada” exhibition wherein one found an 
>>>> approximate re-construction of the Picabia show at Dalmau Gallery 
>>>> in Barcelona and also another (also approximate) re-construction of 
>>>> the First Berlin International Dada Fair (1920) were launched. In 
>>>> fact, exhibition design has become a “genre” of its own: in 1989 at 
>>>> the “Stationen der Moderne” exhibition at the Berlinische Galerie 
>>>> in Berlin, up to twenty historical German exhibitions were 
>>>> re-created [13] .
>>>> Jérôme Glicenstein
>>>> Paris, May 4th, 2006
>>>> Notes :
>>>> [1] For a general history of the Salon, see Gérard-Georges Lemaire, 
>>>> Histoire du salon de peinture, Paris, Klincksieck, coll. Etudes, 2004.
>>>> http://www.klincksieck.com/accueil.html
>>>> [2] Many works on Lissitzky have been published. His main reference 
>>>> is Sophie Lissitzky-Küppers’s book, El Lissitzky : Life, Letters, 
>>>> Texts (1967), New York, Thames & Hudson. 1992.
>>>> http://www.abebooks.com
>>>> [3] Among the well-documented catalogues on Frederick Kiesler, see 
>>>> specifically, Frederick Kiesler artiste-architecte (under Chantal 
>>>> Béret’s supervision). This book was published for the exhibition 
>>>> CNAC - Georges Pompidou , Paris, Editions du Centre Pompidou, 1996.
>>>> http://www.cnac-gp.fr/
>>>> [4] Regarding Herbert Bayer, see in particular, Alexander Dorner, 
>>>> The Way Beyond “Art” – The Work of Herbert Bayer, New York, 
>>>> Wittenborn, Schultz, Inc., 1947.
>>>> http://www.questia.com/
>>>> [5] See Fabrice Hergott, « Réponses au questionnaire “Accrocher une 
>>>> œuvre d’art” », in Cahiers du MNAM n°17/18, « L’œuvre d’art et son 
>>>> accrochage », Paris, Centre Georges Pompidou, 1986, p. 207.
>>>> [6] Françoise Parfait, Video : un art contemporain, Paris, Regard, 
>>>> 2001, p. 170.
>>>> http://www.editions-du-regard.com/regard/essais.html
>>>> [7] Claquemurer pour ainsi dire tout l’univers. La mise en 
>>>> exposition (under the direction of Jean Davallon), Paris, MNAM/CCI, 
>>>> coll. alors :, 1986, p. 205.
>>>> [8] See, for example: Publics et Musées n°8, « Études de publics, 
>>>> années 30 », Lyon, PUL, July-December 1995.
>>>> http://presses.univ-lyon2.fr/article.php3?id_article=19&id_livre=194
>>>> [9] Jonathan Crary, L’art de l’observateur. Vision et modernité au 
>>>> XIXe siècle (trad. F.Maurin), Nîmes, Jacqueline Chambon, coll. 
>>>> Rayon photo, 1994 (original edition: Cambridge, MIT, 1990), p. 26.
>>>> http://fr.bookbutler.com/
>>>> http://books.google.com/
>>>> [10] This is the topic of Victoria Newhouse’s book, Art and the 
>>>> Power of Placement, New York, The Monacelli Press, 2005.
>>>> http://www.rochester.edu/in_visible_culture/Reviews/MGreview.html
>>>> http://www.amazon.com/Art-Power-Placement/dp/product-description/1580931480 
>>>> [11] Daniel Buren, “Where are the Artists”, in The Next Documenta 
>>>> Should Be Curated by an Artist, June-November 2003; available at 
>>>> http://www.e-flux.com..
>>>> http://www.e-flux.com/projects/next_doc/d_buren_printable.html
>>>> [12] Concerning this topic, see, in particular, Mary Anne 
>>>> Staniszewski’s book, The Power of Display. A History of Exhibition 
>>>> Installations at the Museum of Modern Art, Cambridge Ma-London, MIT 
>>>> Press, 1998.
>>>> http://mitpress.mit.edu/catalog/item/default.asp?ttype=2&tid=8169
>>>> [13] Stationen der Moderne. Die bedeutenden Kunstausstellungen des 
>>>> 20. Jahrhunderts in Deutschland, Berlin, Berlinische Galerie, 1988.
>>>> http://www.berlinische-galerie.de
>>>> Jérôme Glicenstein’s biography:
>>>> Jérôme Glicenstein is an artist and Associate Professor in Fine 
>>>> Arts at Paris University (Saint-Denis).
>>>> His lectures and his field of research deal with theories and 
>>>> practices of exhibitions. In addition, he is in charge of a 
>>>> university gallery and of the cycle of exhibitions “ To place/to 
>>>> displace” at the Saint-Denis Museum of Art and History.
>>>> He is also a regular collaborator for various magazines, in 
>>>> particular la Revue d’Esthétique and directs the magazine Marges.
>>>> He published various articles on the relations between art and the 
>>>> new media.
>>>> Publications to come:
>>>> « Dispositif », in Dictionnaire du corps (sld. Michela Marzano), 
>>>> Paris, PUF, 2006.
>>>> « L’art contemporain peut-il être populaire ? Remarques à propos de 
>>>> Nuit blanche », Revue d’Esthétique n°46, 2006.
>>>> « From Spectator to Actor: Experiments in the Gallery of Paris8 », 
>>>> in Proceedings of the XIXth Congress of IAEA (sld Jean-Christophe 
>>>> Vilatte), Avignon, IAEA, 2006.
>>>> Main recent publications:
>>>> « Internet — Sites d’artistes », Encyclopædia Universalis (CD-Rom), 
>>>> Paris, 2000.
>>>> http://www.universalis.fr/
>>>> « Le paysage panoptique d’Internet. Remarques à partir de Jeremy 
>>>> Bentham », Revue d’Esthétique n°39, Paris, Jean-Michel Place, 2001, 
>>>> p. 97-115.
>>>> http://www.jeanmichelplace.com/fr/revues/detail.cfm?ProduitID=1114&ProduitCode=7# 
>>>> « Statistiques, rumeurs et anarchie », Parpaings n°25, 2001, p. 21-22.
>>>> http://www.jeanmichelplace.com/
>>>> « Le Guggenheim Virtuel », dans http://www.mudam.lu (sld Claude 
>>>> Closky), musée Grand-Duc Jean, Luxembourg, 2002.
>>>> http://www.mudam.lu
>>>> « Qu’attendez-vous du Palais de Tokyo ? », l’Info Noir/Blanc n°23, 
>>>> 2002.
>>>> http://www.caap.asso.fr/spip.php?rubrique2
>>>> « Le Palais de Tokyo : un “cinéma de situations” », Revue 
>>>> d’Esthétique n°42, Paris, Jean-Michel Place, 2003.
>>>> http://www.jeanmichelplace.com/fr/revues/detail.cfm?ProduitID=628&ProduitCode=7 
>>>> « La muséologie d’Internet : quelques remarques à propos du 
>>>> Guggenheim Virtuel », dans L’art à l’époque du virtuel (sld 
>>>> Christine Buci-Glucksman), Paris, L’Harmattan, coll.Arts8, 2003.
>>>> http://www.editions-harmattan.fr/
>>>> « Changer de convictions ou changer de rôle ? Remarques à partir 
>>>> d’une enquête menée par le Site de création contemporaine du Palais 
>>>> de Tokyo », dans Art : changer de conviction (sld Jacques Morizot), 
>>>> Paris, L’Harmattan, coll. Arts8, 2004.
>>>> http://www.editions-harmattan.fr/
>>>> « La création artistique contemporaine face aux nouveaux médias », 
>>>> dans Arts plastiques et nouvelles technologies, Saint-Denis, Musée 
>>>> d’art et d’histoire, 2004.
>>>> « Quelques remarques à propos de Matrix », Revue d’Esthétique n°45, 
>>>> Paris, Jean-Michel Place, 2004.
>>>> http://www.jeanmichelplace.com/fr/revues/detail.cfm?ProduitID=1114&ProduitCode=7 
>>>> « Le commissaire d’exposition entre auteur et interprète », Dossier 
>>>> signature n°57, Montréal, Esse arts+opinions, 2006.
>>>> http://www.esse.ca/fr/sommaire_ar.php?no=57
>>>> Author’s recommendation / Current events:
>>>> Exhibition: Architects' Exhibition Designs
>>>> 115 European exhibitions designed by architects
>>>> 7/7/2006 > 22/10/2006
>>>> Pavillon de l'Arsenal
>>>> 24 bld. Morland
>>>> 75004 Paris France
>>>> http://www.pavillon-arsenal.com/en/expositions/thema_modele.php?id_exposition=175 
>>>> http://www.pavillon-arsenal.com/img/exposition/175/cp/PAV_175_CP.pdf
>>>> Translation: Kristine Barut Dreuilhe
>>>> Original version:
>>>> La mise en scène des œuvres d’art. Remarques à propos de la 
>>>> scénographie d’exposition.
>>>> http://www.pourinfos.org/
>>>> ---------------
>>>> All text is available under the French license Creative Commons :
>>>> non-commercial attribution – no derived work. 2.0. In order to 
>>>> encourage a free pedagogic or associative usage.
>>>> http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/fr/
>>>> --pourinfos.org
>>>> --------------
>>>> Direction de la publication
>>>> xavier.cahen at pourinfos.org
>>>> http://www.pourinfos.org
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>> --------------
>> cahen.x at levels9.com
>> Paris France
>> http://www.levels9.com
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cahen.x at levels9.com
Paris France

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