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Friday 10.01.2014

Centre Pompidou: call for registration 'Magiciens de la Terre' Summer University

Béatrice Hatala©Centre Pompidou, 1989

Bibliothèque Kandinsky Centre Pompidou 'Magiciens de la Terre' Summer University
Bibliothèque Kandinsky Musée national d'art moderne


Application deadline: February 28th 2014

Didier Schulmann
++ 33 (0) 1 44 78 47 15
++ 33 (0) 1 44 78 12 08

Centre Pompidou
19, rue Beaubourg
75191 Paris cedex 04

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The Centre Pompidou sets up the Bibliothèque Kandinsky Summer University.
1st session, July 2014: 1989-2014, 'Magiciens de la Terre' twenty-five years on.
The 25th anniversary of a pioneering exhibition at the dawn of the globalisation of art.

From 18 May to 14 August 1989, the exhibition 'Magiciens de la terre', presented simultaneously at the Centre Pompidou and the Grande Halle de la Villette, was an eye-opener to visitors, critics, museums and the market alike. Into a contemporary art world then confined to the borders of Europe and North America, its curator Jean-Hubert Martin and his team had invited artists from every continent, pinpointed one by one during long missions in the field over many years. During this time they sought out artists with practices rooted in ancestral cultures, who were resistant to post-colonialism, up in arms against any kind of totalitarianism, and above all, interested in the way the world was gradually opening up. Other interested people were associated with the event, including a number of Western artists who, while deeply integrated into dominant networks, were driven by the need for an intercultural dialogue. These artists produced works that resonated with the singular energy and the unprecedented collision produced by these hitherto invisible 'new artists'. A pioneering initiative, 'Magiciens de la Terre' was rapidly perceived as an inaugural event.

At the very beginning of a globalisation not yet acknowledged as such, 'Magiciens de la Terre' engendered many polemics, which persisted and flourished. It inspired callings and led to disappointments, produced other founding events and imitations, and had an influence on many exhibitions that came after it. It was thus one of those 'turning points' that marked a change in history.

Among the Centre Pompidou's initiatives for the 25th anniversary of 'Magiciens de la Terre', the Bibliothèque Kandinsky has devised an exhibition/dossier whereby an international group of young researchers (PhD students, PhD graduates and curators) are given special access to the primary sources of this exhibition, and then closely examine them through analysis and historiographical criticism, as part of a Summer University,.

The Bibliothèque Kandinsky Summer University.

The university, held on the actual premises of the event (the exhibition space, museum rooms and archive reserves), is coordinated by the very people who set the exhibition in motion (the artists and curators). With contributions from the critics and art historians who commented on it, the university takes the form of a series of workshops exclusively focused on the sources. This means that photographs, manuscripts (notes and reports) and 'sources of sources' (periodicals, catalogues and documentary dossiers used by the devisers of the event studied) are available to the participants in a collegial, collaborative environment.

From 2 to 10 July 2014, within the exhibition on 'Magiciens de la Terre' laid on by the Bibliothèque Kandinsky in the Museum's Gallery (with a stage design by Sarkis reinterpreting the 1989 event), the Summer University sessions will take place every morning from 9 am to 1 pm. They will enable participants to study documents connected with the missions of the curators in 1989, their exchanges with the artists, the arrangement with the institutions, the compilation of the catalogue, the assembly of the exhibition, the meetings to which it formed the backdrop, the previews, and the reactions to the exhibition, both during the summer of 1989 and the echoes that are still felt today.

This session of the Bibliothèque Kandinsky Summer University does not aim to re-discuss Western modernity as a model intended to spread so much as to investigate – starting from the sources produced by the 'magicians' themselves – the conditions for a globalised contemporary art to emerge, its various production methods and its dissemination movements in all parts of the world. The very subject of this session devoted to 'Magiciens de la terre' thus aims to promote world-level discussions about a new way to write the history of art and remodel the cartography of its poles.

Organisation of the Bibliothèque Kandinsky Summer University

The participants in the Bibliothèque Kandinsky Summer University will consist of around twenty PhD students, PhD graduates and curators who are involved in research on the globalisation of contemporary art. In this respect, their participation in the Summer University will provide a chance to talk about the progress of their work and interact with around ten young PhDs. The latter, who will organise and coordinate the Summer University, come from the 'Art & Globalisation' workshop at the INHA and the Bibliothèque Kandinsky, which since 2011 has been guiding the approach of the research programme run by the Labex-CAP and the Centre Pompidou in association with Didier Schulmann (curator and manager of the Bibliothèque Kandinsky) and his team.

The Bibliothèque Kandinsky Summer University will include the production of a publication reflecting its discussions: a place for 'depositing' the contributions sought and devised by the participants themselves. Writing workshops will be staged every afternoon at the Bibliothèque Kandinsky (or in the evenings when the afternoons are taken up with tours of the museum reserves or archive stores, or with artists' workshops) so that the publication can be given to all the participants on the last day of the University. This publication will be coordinated by a group of graphic artists present throughout the sessions, who will act as 'clerks'. The publication will be printed and handed out on the last day of the University, and as from the morning of the next day will be distributed free to exhibition visitors, and given out in museum and university libraries.

The work of each day will be based on archive and documentary sources (directly relating to the theme of the day), on the epistemological subjects of the 1989 exhibition (cartography, listology, photography, etc.) and on the range of theoretical tools (structuralism, Marxism, formalism, etc.) used by the devisers of 'Magiciens de la terre', who came from the realms of anthropology, ethnology, geography, the political and economic sciences and the history and theory of art. Bibliographies will be given to participants as soon as they have registered.

Post-graduate students (PhD and post-PhD) and curators who wish to take part are invited to submit draft talks and communications through which they wish to contribute to Summer University discussions, accompanied by a CV indicating which foreign languages they are proficient in. Motivations must not be more than 4,500 characters or 700 words; they may be written in English or French. They must be submitted in a Word document and include the applicant's name, postal and electronic addresses, the establishment they are attached to, and their country.

The proposal and CV must be sent in a single document, attached to an email. The 'subject' field in the email must indicate the applicant's name and the country where he/she is registered, prededed by 'Université d'été'. Emails must be sent to: by February 28th 2014.

The proposals will be collected, examined and selected by a scientific committee, who will be in charge of drawing up the final Summer University programme. All applicants, wether or not retained, will be personally contacted before March 28th ..

The applicants chosen must submit a summary of 300 words maximum in French or English by midnight May 5th to: in a Word document and this must be accompanied by the presentation in PowerPoint format.

It is essential to be fluent in French or English.

This first edition of the Summer University is self-financed, so a participation of €998 is required from participants, who will receive tuition at the Summer University as well as accommodation. If any applicants so request, the Centre Pompidou will issue any attestations required for them to obtain any scholarships they may be eligible for from foundations, museums or university or research institutes.