Contemplation and/or ‘living experiences’ in the (visual) arts

Year: 2024
Contemplation and/or ‘living experiences’ in the (visual) arts
Class of the Arts


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The expression ‘living experiences’ is ubiquitous. Also the organization, programming and production of the (visual) arts anticipates the - presupposed - expectations of the visitors or audience towards 'strong experiences' and focuses on (sensory) intensity and/or on active involvement of the visitor. 

In the visual arts, this is accompanied by an increase in techniques that seek to maximize spectator involvement and increase immersiveness. The direct, sensory, accessible, inclusive experience of art is opposed to, the detached, rather cerebral and contemplative engagement with art. When the artworks themselves do not lend themselves to this, curators or museums take on that task, adding immersive experiential formats themselves. 

The symposium "Contemplation and/or ‘living experiences in the (Visual) Arts" concludes the "thinker's program" organized by the Class of the Arts under the direction of Thierry De Duve. It addresses the general expectation of or demand for experience, questions relevant recent and contemporary trends in art, and provides discussion material for policy and the evaluation of the functioning of (art) museums in this regard. 

With: Thierry De Duve, Maarten Delbeke, Hanneke Grootenboer, Anton Jäger, Camiel Van Winkel, Bart Verschaffel (chair) …. 

Palais des Académies, October 3, 15:00-17:30; October 4, 10:00-17:30 

Thierry de Duve

Art historian and philosopher of art Thierry de Duve (1944°) is Evelyn Kranes Kossak Professor at Hunter College, City University of New York since 2016, and Emeritus from the Université de Lille 3. His English publications include Pictorial Nominalism (1991), Kant after Duchamp (1996), Clement Greenberg Between the Lines (1996, 2010), Look—100 Years of Contemporary Art (2001), and Sewn In the Sweatshops of Marx: Beuys, Warhol, Klein, Duchamp (2012).

He was the curator of the exhibition Voici / Look -100 Years of Contemporary Art (Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, 2002) and of the Belgium Pavilion for the Venice Biennial (2003).