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

Geert Dekkers geert at nznl.com
Sat Sep 30 00:33:52 CEST 2006



(thought you meant something like that)

On 29/09/2006, at 5:41 PM, xavier cahen wrote:

> Look it's here !
> OK it's not completely square, retangle... if you want...
> http://levels9.com/Pp1070798.jpg
> http://levels9.com/Pp1070802.jpg
> ;-)
> Yours
> Xavier
> 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
>>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>>> NetBehaviour mailing list
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