Daniel Birnbaum and Sven-Olov Wallenstein analyze the significance and logic of Lyotard's “Les Immatériaux” exhibition while contextualizing it in the history of exhibition practices
, the philosophical tradition, and Lyotard's own work on aesthetics and phenomenology.
In 1985, the philosopher Jean-François Lyotard curated “Les Immatériaux” at Centre Georges Pompidou. Though widely misunderstood at the time, the exhibition marked a “curatorial turn” in critical theory. Through its experimental layout and hybrid presentation of objects, technologies, and ideas, this pioneering exploration of virtuality reflected on the exhibition as a medium of communication, and anticipated a deeper engagement with immersive and digital space in both art and theory. In Spacing Philosophy, Daniel Birnbaum and Sven-Olov Wallenstein analyze the significance and logic of Lyotard's exhibition while contextualizing it in the history of exhibition practices, the philosophical tradition, and Lyotard's own work on aesthetics and phenomenology. “Les Immatériaux” can thus be seen as a culmination and materialization of a life's work as well as a primer for the many thought-exhibitions produced in the following decades.
Curator, art critic and philosopher, director of the Städelschule in Frankfurt am Main and director of its Portikus Gallery
until 2010, currently director of the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Daniel Birnbaum is is also a member of the board of the Institut für Sozialforschung. A contributing editor of Artforum
, he is the author of numerous texts on art and philosophy
Sven-Olov Wallenstein is professor of Philosophy
at Södertörn University. His areas of research include aesthetic theory, with a particular focus on visual arts and architecture, German Idealism, phenomenology, critical theory, and modern philosophies of desire, power, and subjectivity.