Manifest paper exhibitions : curating as a radical re-materialisation of forms

Copeland, Mathieu (2020) Manifest paper exhibitions : curating as a radical re-materialisation of forms. (PhD thesis), Kingston University, .


Voids, Choreographing Exhibitions, the exhibition of a film, The Anti-Museum, and Gustav Metzger, Writings 1953 – 2016. It is through the prism of emptiness, choreography, cinema, dialectic antagonism and an artist’s corpus of writings that these experimental publications propose a redefinition of the semantics involved. They foster new theoretical and practical perspectives through the exploration of extreme philosophies and cultural practices. These publications deconstruct the normative acceptations of what exhibitions, and catalogues, can be. Advancing extreme forms for exhibitions, these manifest anthologies are calls for action. In addressing their inherent materialities, I challenge the tacitly accepted theories of what to curate is. A curator is in turn and simultaneously a playwright, a choreographer, a filmmaker, a writer, a historian, (…). A curator voices a voice, as s-he builds a repertoire. Considering exhibitions as materials, Voids and The Anti-Museum stem from a history of radical exhibitions. Both offer a re-appraisal of modern and contemporary art history seen through the prism of radical culture. Seizing the materiality of exhibitions, Choreographing Exhibitions recast exhibition-making in museum contexts, whilst the exhibition of a film challenges the museology of cinema and exhibitions made films. Gustav Metzger, Writings 1953 – 2016 offers a lasting testimony to a revolutionary artist, a radical theorist, and critic of our times. Metzger consciously produced sparingly. The accumulated wealth of his writing is akin to proposing a retrospective of his work in its original materiality, an art of propositions. The red thread that binds these publications together is a study in radicality. Uncompromising attitudes as forms, radical exhibitions as books and a complete re-materialisation of forms: all affirm a voice as a polyphony of voices. As Manifest Paper Exhibitions, these publications comprise a complex autonomous entity of manifest positions where the exhibition is the catalogue, and the catalogue is the exhibition.

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