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Nicolas Bourriaud: What is the exform? Culture, history and rejection in the Google era

Leading thinker Nicolas Bourriaud, current director of École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts,
published Relational Aesthetics in 1998 sparking discussion about contemporary art and its position
within daily life. Bourriaud discusses his most recent theory, the ‘Exform’, and concepts of rejection
and rehabilitation in contemporary art at the Royal Academy Schools Autumn Lecture.

For a long time now the French have been provocative for radical rethinking in the art world: Deleuze, Guattari, Badiou, and Rancière. There was a time, when like the Semiotextes that preceded it, Nicolas Bourriaud’s little books were on every art student’s shelf, and his buzzwords––‘relational aesthetics’ and ‘postproduction’––on their lips. These terms provoked serious discussion regarding the endless complications of the relation of contemporary art to the life with which it is so controversially interwoven.
Now Nicolas provokes our thinking once again by bringing a new idea to the Royal Academy Schools. Reminding us that since the 19th century, modern art has been an agonistic field, he tells us that what he calls "the exform" is a sign or form seized by exclusionary stakes, cultural, social or political:
“From Gustave Courbet's ‘realism’ to Liam Gillick, the exformal appears as a moving territory suffused by centrifugal forces, the unwanted and the official, mechanisms of rejection and rehabilitation. This duality might still be the core of what we call ‘contemporary art’.”


Nicolas Bourriaud | talks


Date and Time:

8 November 2013 at 5:30 pm


2 hours



The Royal Institution
21 Albemarle Street
020 7409 2992
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Organised by:

Royal Academy Schools
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£5 concessions £10 standard

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