Relational Aesthetics, By Nicolas Bourriaud Essay

Relational Aesthetics, By Nicolas Bourriaud Essay

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The term ‘Relational aesthetics’ was first mentioned in the catalog for Traffic, an exhibition curated by Nicolas Bourriaud that took place at the CAPC contemporary museum, Bordeaux in 1995. The exhibition however, was not well received amongst many critics who did not either understand or agree with Bourriards concept of Relational aesthetics, seeing it as quite a vague concept. Writer and Curator Carl Freedman 's article for frieze magazine was less than complimentary towards Bourriaud 's exhibition stating ‘’Traffic’ and Bourriaud’s concept of ‘relationality’ were just too unspecific to be capable of defining a new art, especially when so many of the works did little to support the exhibition’s premise. This was an ambitiously funded exhibition which was only able to provide the viewer with a largely familiar array of objects and images. With the primary beneficiaries of ‘Traffic’ tending to be the participating artists and their associates, Bourriaud may need to look at what actually constitutes the socio-political determinants of his ‘interhuman space’. In addition to harsh critiques the Bordeaux art centre press office incorrectly conveyed to the public the idea of the exhibition, describing it as an “intercative-baroque-conceptualism”. In an essay published in October magazine, Liam Gillick explained Bourriaud 's intentions behind writing Relational aesthetics, Gillick states that due to the reaction towards Traffic ‘Bourriaud found himself in a complicated situation in which he was obliged to gather together and develop recent essays in order to articulate his position in relation to the artists’ . Bourriaud had recognised the need for an ‘updated forum’ with which to describe the relational art, as ‘attempts to describe ...


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...r before these human interactions can be defined as a practice that is distinguishable from earlier practices, disagreeing with bourriaud idea of relational aesthetics as ‘new type of practice without formal limits’. As a follow up to her criticism towards the separation of relational aesthetics to previous similar works she responds in her essay “ viewers as producers’ stating “Although the photographic documentation of these projects implies a relationship to performance art, they differ in striving to collapse the distinction between performer and audience..’. However when discussing contemporary works Borriard explains that they “hav[e] to do with interactive, user-friendly, and relational concepts’ as well as connecting “levels of reality kept apart from one another.” Therefore stating that relational art could not be considered as simply as a trip to the shops

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