Research project, ECAL 2017


Theater, Garden, Bestiary: a Materialist History of Exhibitions

The history of exhibitions is currently undergoing renewed interest. While today the "medium" of exhibition is a producer of specific discourses, and while it offers new practices a stage on which to emerge, it has also become the nexus of numerous institutional neo-positivisms relating to the ontological designation ‘art’. The exhibition, in the search for its reflexive forms (as in the quest for its own modernism) seems to become a genre in its own right. By distancing itself from today's flurry of studies related to curating, this research project will draft a history of exhibitions sourced from a wide corpus reaching beyond the framework of artistic institutions. The research project Theater, Garden, Bestiary: A Materialist History of Exhibitions stems from the wish to consider the exhibition as a genre, and to question its place in an expanded geography of borders and conceptual divides that have historically structured the space of art, and which continue to underlie its situation today. Its aim is to consider anew the genre of exhibition, by grounding it both in the history of modernism and in modernity as a whole, that is, in what one may call the anthropological matrix of modernity: its ontological separations, its epistemic divisions, its political economy, its sense of the negative.


Interview with Tristan Garcia and Vincent Normand by Filipa Ramos, Mousse Magazine, October 2016.

Main applicant

Ecole cantonale d’art de Lausanne (ECAL)

Direction : Tristan Garcia, Vincent Normand

Guests speakers : Elie During, Anselm Franke, Dorothea von Hantelmann, Pierre Huyghe, Jeremy Lecomte, Stéphane Lojkine, Celeste Olalquiaga, Peter Osborne, Filipa Ramos, Juliane Rebentisch, Joao Ribas, Ludger Schwarte, Anna-Sophie Springer, Olivier Surel, Etienne Turpin, Charles T. Wolfe, Yuk Hui...

Coordination : Lucile Dupraz


September 2015

 - March 2018

Funded by the HES-SO (University of Applied Sciences Western Switzerland)

Alex J. Rota, « Visitor viewing siamang exhibit, Hall of Primates, 1965 », American Museum of Natural History Library

Talk with Juliane Rebentisch et Peter Osborne (photo: Younès Klouche)

Talk with Anselm Franke and Olivier Surel

(photo: Younès Klouche)