Re-staging the 'Rent Collection' at the Venice Biennale: Rethinking Temporality

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Published conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


    Benjamin's famous argument that the work of art is distinguished by its 'aura' was written when Benjamin was fully aware of the difficulties it raised. These difficulties were not limited to technological developments which made multiple (near) identical works possible. Historically, this was addressed through the distinction between original and copy distinguished temporally, thus privileging the 'first' event as 'original'. In the context of a linear progressive narrative which charts canonical works, this seemed unproblematic. However, when dealing with multiple cultures and multiple geo-political spaces this distinction becomes more problematic. The term 'contemporary', means 'being with time' (heterogenous time) rather than in time (linear time) came into use. The 21st century can be characterised by a growing interest in exhibitions and curatorial practices and the recurrence of the re-staging of exhibitions. The paper will take the well known case study of the 1965 installation of the Rent Collection Courtyard and its repeated presentations in China culminating with its inclusion by Harold Szeemann in the dAPERTutto of the 48th Venice Biennale (1999). This case study can highlight the difficulties and potential solutions that can become visible when re-staging exhibitions/installations, especially when at issue are not just one geopolitical space, nor one culture, one ideology or historical narrative. At issue here is a translation which is always already a mistranslation and multiple narratives and histories which forms the need for the con-temporary, the being-with-time(s), rather than 'in-time' be it past, future and/or stable present.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationCollege Art Association annual conference (Los Angeles USA)
    Subtitle of host publicationRestaging Exhibitions: Past, Present, Future
    Publication statusUnpublished - 23 Feb 2018


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