The aesthetics of curating : exhibition-making after the conceptual turn

Aroni, Maria (2017) The aesthetics of curating : exhibition-making after the conceptual turn. (PhD thesis), Kingston University, .


The thesis examines the evolving realtions of the aesthetic and conceptual aspects in exhibition-making after the 'conceptual turn' that took place in the late-1960s and instigated key transformations in the aesthetic condition of art and contemporary curatorial practice. Drawing on a broadly construed and variously manifested conceptualism pervading the growing field of curating since 1990s, the thesis focuses on investigating the relation between the aestheti and conceptual dimensions of three exhibitions that have had a significant impact on the postconceptual development of curating. In doing so, it aims to construct an alternative genealogy that reaffirms the significance of the aesthetic element, and so to reconstruct curatorial practice from the perspective of an Aesthetics of Curating. This trajectory unfolds a non-unitary Curatorial Aesthetics that emerges and develops together with the conceptual shift offering a revisionist perspective to dominant practices and discourses today that tend to devalue or repress aesthetic modes of production. The driving force of the thesis is neither to affirm aestheticism nor simply reversing the received positions. Instead, the investigation of aesthetics - as the poetics of an exhibition and a philosophical understanding of the experience offered - provides a reading that contests the emphasis placed upon conceptualism in order to revise those relations and established assumptions, and enable us to understand contemporary aspects of curating that have been downgraded. The thesis focuses on three case-studies, which mark important shifts in the conceptual development of curating from 1969 to 2007: When Attitudes Become Form: Works-Processes-Concepts-Situations-Information (Live in Your Head), curated by Harald Szeemann. Kunsthalle Bern (1969); Les Immateriaux, co-curated by Jean-Francois Lotard and Thierry Chaput, Centre George Pompidou, Paris (1985); Documenta 12, under the artistic directorship of Roger Buergel and chief curatorship of Ruth Noack, Kassel (2007). By exploring the different ways in which these exhibitions accommodate, engage with, and define aesthetic experience in relation to their conceptual modes, the study provides an alternative account of Curatorial Aesthetics that attains its transformative potential and political efficacy in the present through the invention of new sensations that incite new modes of thinking and acting.

Actions (Repository Editors)

Item Control Page Item Control Page