Nicolas Bourriaud

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Nicolas Bourriaud (born 1965) is a curator and art critic, who has curated a great number of exhibitions and biennials all over the world.

He co-founded, and from 1999 to 2006 was co-director of the Palais de Tokyo, Paris together with Jérôme Sans. He was also founder and director of the contemporary art magazine Documents sur l'art (1992–2000), and correspondent in Paris for Flash Art from 1987 to 1995. Bourriaud was the Gulbenkian curator of contemporary art from 2007-2010 at Tate Britain, London, and in 2009 he curated the fourth Tate Triennial there, entitled Altermodern.[1] He was the Director of the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, an art school in Paris, France, from 2011 to 2015.[2] In 2015, he was appointed director of the future Contemporary Art Center of Montpellier, France, due to open in 2019, and director of La Panacée art center.


Main article: Relational Art

Bourriaud is best known among English speakers for his publications Relational Aesthetics (1998/English version 2002), Postproduction (2001), and The Exform (2015/ English version 2106). Relational Aesthetics in particular has come to be seen as a defining text for a wide variety of art produced by a generation who came to prominence in Europe in the early 1990s. Bourriaud coined the term in 1995, in a text for the catalogue of the exhibition Traffic that was shown at the CAPC contemporary art museum [3] in Bordeaux.

In Postproduction (2001), Bourriaud relates deejaying to contemporary art. He lists the operations discjockeys apply to music and relates them to contemporary art practice.[citation needed] Radicant (2009) aims to define the emergence of the first global modernity, based on translation and nomadic forms, against the postmodern aesthetics based on identities. In The Exform (2016), Bourriaud examines the dynamics of ideology, specifically as it was developed in the work of Louis Althusser, to account for distinctions between the productive and unproductive, product and waste, and the included and excluded in their relation to society and art production.[4]


Curated exhibitions[edit]

  • Courts Métrages Immobiles, Venice Biennale, 1990
  • Aperto '93, Venice Biennale, 1993
  • Commerce, Espace St Nicolas, Paris, 1994
  • Traffic, Capc Bordeaux, 1996
  • Joint Ventures, Basilico Gallery, New York, 1996
  • Le Capital, CRAC Sète, 1999
  • Contacts, Kunsthalle Fri-Art, Fribourg, Switzerland, 2000
  • Négociations, CRAC, Sète, 2000
  • Touch, San Francisco Art Institute, 2002
  • GNS (Global Navigation System), Palais de Tokyo, Paris, 2003
  • Playlist, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, 2004
  • Notre Histoire, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, 2006
  • Moscow Biennale, 2005 and 2007 (with Backstein, Boubnova, Birnbaum, Obrist, Martinez)
  • Estratos, Murcia, 2008.
  • The Tate Triennial 2009: Altermodern, Tate Britain, London, 2009
  • "Athens Biennial 2011 : Monodrome".
  • "The Angel of history", Palais des Beaux-arts, Paris, 2013.
  • "Cookbook", Palais des Beaux-arts, Paris, 2013.
  • Taipei Biennial 2014, "The Great acceleration".
  • Kaunas Biennial 2015, "Threads : a fantasmagoria about distance".


  1. ^ Frieze Magazine | Archive | Nicolas Bourriaud
  2. ^ ANA Nicolas Bourriaud – new director of École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts 3 November 2011
  3. ^
  4. ^ Bourriaud, Nicolas (2016). The Exform. Verso. pp. xii. If invoking Benjamin and Bataille represents something familiar to readers, the prominent place granted to Louis Althusser...may come as a surprise. 

External links[edit]