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For a Chronopolitical Approach to the Internationalisation of Art Collections

Aliocha Imhoff et Kantuta Quirós

Article for the catalogue of the exhibition
A Republic of Art
From the 80’s to Today
27 June – 4 October 2015
French Regional Collections of Contemporary Art @ Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, Netherlands

A Republic of Art / Une République des arts / Van Abbemuseum
: “If the “French case”, as Françoise Vergès once wrote, has long been characterised by a republican resistance – acting mostly as a veil over its colonial past – to the “epistemologies of the South” and postcolonial critique, how do we go about reinventing innovative cultural policies that take these contributions into account? How can we do this while setting time back in motion, liberating us from the presentism to which we seem compelled in Europe, particularly in France? How should we rethink the question of the collection, the constitution of a collection of international works emancipated from the positivism of history, if not by questioning the “regimes of veridiction” and their underlying time scenarios?” Aliocha Imhoff et Kantuta Quirós


A Republic of Art / Une République des arts / Van AbbemuseumA Republic of Art
From the 80’s to Today
27 June – 4 October 2015
French Regional Collections of Contemporary Art @ Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, Netherlands

Can we begin to map recent cultural history? What do contemporary artists and their works have to say about their own time and place. How do we combine  the story of a nation with globalisation? A Republic of Art is an exhibition about the world of visual culture in the French republic from the establishment of the FRAC system (Regional collections of contemporary art) in 1982 right up to current developments in contemporary art practice today. This large scale exhibition draws works from these extraordinary and extensive art collections over the past 30 years.

The Van Abbemuseum was invited by PLATFORM to reflect on this collection that is embedded in French cultural and political history. The Van Abbemuseum was chosen because of the many experiments it has conducted with new ways of exhibiting and interpreting its own collection during recent years. A Republic of Art is a stimulating tour of the contemporary art which has been collected by the French government since 1982. In their works of art the artists reflect on the world around them, so that visitors are taken along through history, undoubtedly evoking personal memories.

Three decades of contemporary art
The exhibition starts in the early 1980s with works by celebrated artists such as Daniel Buren, Gerhard Richter, Cindy Sherman and Paul McCarthy. A Republic of Art reveals the emergence of new media with works by, for example, Dara Birnbaum and Harun Farocki. Luc Tuymans questions the reliability of mass media in his work.
Developments in film and literature are the source of inspiration for artists like Sophie Calle and Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster. Other trends become visible in the 1990s and 2000, such as the increasing interest in the environment and in alternative ways of living together in  society. For example, this is reflected in the works of N55 and Simon Starling.

The FRAC system
The Fonds Régionaux d’Art Contemporain (FRAC) was founded in France in 1982, consisting of 23 institutions in every part of France, even including Corsica and La Réunion. The FRACs, gathered in the umbrella organisation PLATFORM, have put together a collection of more than 26,000 works by (inter)nationally celebrated artists over the course of more than thirty years. Fifty per cent of the collection consists of works by French artists. According to
the FRAC philosophy the only point of purchasing works of art is that they become accessible on a large scale.
For this reason they organised big educational programmes and produce more than five hundred exhibitions a year, particularly in places that were not originally intended for art.

E-publication A Republic of Art
The exhibition will be accompanied by an e-publication with texts by Ami Barak, Aliocha Imhoff & Kantuta Quiros, Stephen Wright and Diana Franssen and interviews with Catherine Elkar (director of FRAC Bretagne), Xavier Franceschi (director of FRAC Île-de-France) and Laurence Gateau (director of FRAC des Pays de la Loire). Introduction by Charles Esche.
Language: English and French.

Publication date: June 2015.

Featuring artists:
Absalon, Agnès Accorsi, Dennis Adams, Lara Almarcegui, Yto Barrada, Bibliothèque Fantastique, Ursula Biemann, Dara Birnbaum, Monica Bonvicini, Frédéric Bruly Bouabré, Daniel Buren, Sophie Calle, Marta Caradec, Alex Chan, Henri Coldeboeuf, documentation céline duval, documentation céline duval & Hans-Peter Feldmann, Jimmie Durham, Latifa Echakhch, Harun Farocki, Mounir Fatmi, Cao Fei, Hans-Peter Feldmann, Michel François, Claire Fontaine, Meshac Gaba, General Idea, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Renee Green, Subodh Gupta, Hans Haacke, Raymond Hains, Thomas Hirschhorn, Carsten Höller, Douglas Huebler, Pierre Huyghe, Bouchra Khalili, Matthieu Laurette, Louise Lawler, Paul McCarthy, Gustav Metzger, Antoni Muntadas, N55, Jean-Christophe Norman, Boris Ondreicka, ORLAN, Gabriel Orozco, Şener Özmen/Cengiz Tekin, Philippe Parreno, Yan Pei-Ming, Lili Reynaud Dewar, Gerhard Richter, Jimmy Robert, Bruno Serralogue, Cindy Sherman, Simon Starling, Jessica Stockholder, The Atlas Group/Walid Raad, Joëlle Tuerlinckx, Luc Tuymans, Ben Vautier, Huang Yong Ping, Chen Zhen.

Annie Fletcher et Diana Franssen
Assistant curator: Lena Reisner.

Associate Curators for the FRAC
Catherine Elkar (directrice du FRAC Bretagne)
Xavier Franceschi (directeur du FRAC Île-de-France)
Laurence Gateau (directrice du FRAC des Pays de la Loire)
Anne-Claire Duprat (Secrétaire générale de PLATFORM)

A Republic of Art is organised in collaboration with PLATFORM, the umbrella organisation of the 23 FRACs in France.
FRAC advisory board: Catherine Elkar (director FRAC Bretagne), Xavier Franceschi (director FRAC Île de France), Laurence Gateau (director FRAC Des Pays de la Loire), Anne-Claire Duprat (PLATFORM).

Subsidisers: ministère de la Culture et de la Communication, Institut français, the French Embassy in the Netherlands, VSB Fonds, & Fondation Hippocrène.

Municipal Van Abbemuseum, Bilderdijklaan 10, 5611 ND Eindhoven, Netherlands. Old building: 900 m2

Opening: 27 June 2015
Exhibition: 27 June-4 October 2015


Catalogue : With texts by : Charles Esche, Bernard de Montferrand, Diana Franssen, Ami Barak, Aliocha Imhoff & Kantuta Quirós / le peuple qui manque, Stephen Wright and an interview with the directors of the FRAC.
Graphic Design : 75B