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les presses du réel

Relational Aesthetics

Nicolas Bourriaud - Relational Aesthetics
Art as a set of practices which take as their theoretical and practical point of departure the whole of human relations and their social context: the manifesto that has renewed the approach of contemporary art since the 1990s.
Where does our current obsession for interactivity stem from? After the consumer society and the communication era, does art still contribute to the emergence of a rational society?
Nicolas Bourriaud attempts to renew our approach towards contemporary art by getting as close as possible to the artists' works, and by revealing the principles that structure their thoughts: an aesthetic of the inter-human, of the encounter; of proximity, of resisting social formatting.
The aim of his essay is to produce the tools to enable us to understand the evolution of today's art. We meet Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Louis Althusser, Rirkrit Tiravanija or Félix Guattari, along with most of today's practising creative personalities.
French art critic, theoretician, and curator Nicolas Bourriaud (born 1965) was the cofounder and codirector of the Palais de Tokyo in Paris (2000–2006), Gulbenkian Curator for Contemporary Art at Tate Britain, director of the Ecole nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris, director of the contemporary culture center La Panacée in Montpellier, where he founded the EPCC Montpellier Contemporain (MoCo). He is the author of the landmark publication Relational Aesthetics, published in 1998, and still inspirational today for many artists, curators, and art professionals worldwide.