Beatrice von Bismarck open lecture

Teaduste Akadeemia saal, Kohtu 6

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On Thursday, December 17th 6PM we are pleased to host curator and professor of Academy of Visual Arts Leipzig Beatrice von Bismarck who will hold an open lecture „Valorisation Machines or The Exhibition as (Re-)Staging: “When Attitudes Become Form – Bern 1969/ Venice 2013”, Venice Biennial 2013“. The lecture will take place at the main hall of Estonian Academy of Sciences, Kohtu 6.

Exhibitions are in general performative. They bring their exhibits on stage by making them public. Furthermore they involve them in a process of meaning production through embedding them into new constellations. Over the course of processes of shifts and transpositions, additions and commentaries they create different relations between the exhibits and other objects on show as well as display devices, sites and spaces, people and discourses. Exhibitions are thus always temporally defined and this through the temporary structure of their exhibits as much as through their own rhythms, processes and duration.
With the exhibition “When Attitudes Become Form” (Bern, 1969) process and ephemerality have been inscribed not only into the history of art but also into the rather younger history of exhibitions. While a number of other curatorial initiatives around the late 1960s and early 1970s offered similarly oriented contributions to the discourse, the Swiss show and its curator Harald Szeemann acquired a particularly outstanding, almost legendary reputation. The re-staging of this show in 2013 in Venice at the Prada Foundation under the title of “When Attitudes Become Form -Bern 1969/ Venice 2013” implied a de-contextualisation and a resulting shift of meaning not only in aesthetic terms. Hand in hand with the alterations of the temporal and material conditions of the exhibits went a number of re-valorisations and capitalizations, which affected the artistic works, but also the participating artists, the curators and the exhibition itself. The Venice exhibition can thus be treated as a paradigm not only with regards to the theatrical nature of exhibiting but also to the meaning and value production of its performative capacities.

Beatrice von Bismarck (Leipzig/ Berlin), professor at the Academy of Visual Arts Leipzig for Art History, Visual Culture and Cultures of the Curatorial. 1989 – 1993 Städel Museum, Frankfurt/Main curator 20th Century art. 1993 – 1999 Lüneburg University, co-founder and -director of the project-space „Kunstraum der Universität Lüneburg“. 2000 co-founder of the project-space „/D/O/C/K-Projektbereich“. 2009 initiator of the MA-program “Cultures of the Curatorial“. Research areas: The curatorial; effects of neo-liberalism and globalization on the cultural field; postmodern concepts of the „artist“.
Currently on research leave for a book on “The Curatorial” financed by the “Opus magnum”-program of the VWStiftung.

Publications include: – Games Fights Collaborations. Art and Cultural Studies in the 90s, Ostfildern-Ruit 1996. (ed. with Diethelm Stoller, Ulf Wuggenig); – Interarchive. Archival Practices and Sites in the Contemporary Art Field, Cologne 2002. (ed. with Hans-Peter Feldmann, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Diethelm Stoller, Ulf Wuggenig); – Grenzbespielungen. Visuelle Politik in der Übergangszone (Performing the Border. Visual Politics in Zones of Transgression), (ed.), Cologne 2005; – Globalisierung/Hierarchisierung. Kulturelle Dominanzen in Kunst und Kunstgeschichte (Globalization/ Hierarchization. Cultural Dominances in Art and Art History), Marburg 2005 (ed. with Irene Below); – beyond education. Kunst, Ausbildung, Arbeit und Ökonomie, (beyond education. Art, Education, Work and Economy), Frankfurt a. M. 2005 (ed. with Alexander Koch); – Nach Bourdieu: Visualität, Kunst, Politik (After Bourdieu. Visuality, Art, Politics), Vienna 2008 (ed. with Therese Kaufmann, Ulf Wuggenig); – Auftritt als Künstler (Performance as Artist), Cologne 2010; – Cultures of the Curatorial (ed. With Jörn Schaffaf and Thomas Weski), Berlin 2012; – Timing – On the Temporal Dimension of Exhibiting (ed. with Rike Frank, Benjamin Meyer-Krahmer, Jörn Schafaff, and Thomas Weski), Berlin 2014; – Hospitality – Hosting Relations in Exhibitions, (ed. with Benjamin Meyer-Krahmer), Berlin (about to come out in January 2016).

The public lecture will be preceded by a reading group of prof von Bismarck’s earlier texts, to be taking place on Wednesday, December 9th at 4PM at the Centre for Contemporary Art Estonia, please register
Beatrice von Bismarck will also be holding a seminar at the Institute of Art History on December 18th, 10 AM, room 104. For participation please email