With the participation of:
Jean-Hubert Martin (historian and exhibition curator),
Anaël Pigeat (art critic and journalist),
Guy Tortosa (art critic and general inspector of artistic creation at the Ministry of Culture).
And the sound contributions of artists and witnesses.
Expologie is a cycle of lectures on emblematic exhibitions in the history of contemporary art that was conceived by Clément Dirié. In 2021, the first season is devoted to the 1990s in France, where exhibitions and manifestos thoroughly renewed the French and international art scene. Regional art centres and museums played a prevalent role in this redefining of exhibition formats and how art came to be experienced. After Traffic (CAPC, Bordeaux, 1996) and L’Hiver de l’amour (ARC, Paris, 1994), this third session revisits Curios & Mirabilia at the Château d’Oiron, in the Deux-Sèvres department in 1993.
Since the early 1990s, the Château d’Oiron, built in the 16th and 17th centuries, is one of the sites where the dialogue between past heritage and contemporary art has been the most fruitful. After several seminal experiences (including Meltem, 1987), the French Ministry of Culture and Communication created an unprecedented, ambitious program to commission international artists who were invited to work within the country’s historic monuments. Inaugurated in 1993, Curios & Mirabilia (“Curiosities & Wonders”) exhibited an initial version of this singular collection, which has grown since then. John Armleder, Christian Boltanski, Georg Ettl, Raoul Marek, and Daniel Spoerri are among the artists who created installations within these unique architectural Renaissance settings that question the notions of display, duration, and context.
By bringing together actors of that time, additional testimonies, and screenings of archival materials, this lecture celebrates the singularity and genesis of Curios & Mirabilia, and how this “permanent exhibition” of contemporary art within France’s historical heritage both emblematizes the artistic landscape of the time and influenced what would come after it. The next season of the Expologie cycle will be devoted to the 1980s.
An art historian, critic, and independent curator, Clément Dirié is editorial director of JRP|Editions, a publishing house for which he has edited a number of written works and DVDs on the history of 20th and 21st century exhibitions. An attentive observer of current artistic creation and the genealogies of the history of contemporary art, he is the author of numerous essays on art and design, as well as the book Iris Clert. L’Astre ambigu de l’avant-garde, published by Editions Hermann.