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Before and After the Cinematic Turn: Passages de l’image, 1990

Thinking Cinema Series, Erika Balsom, King's College London

April 30, 2019 · 4:30 pm6:00 pm · 010 East Pyne

In the past thirty years, the moving image has undergone an immense transformation in status, migrating from the fringes of contemporary art to occupy a central position within it, filling museums around the world. Why did this shift occur, and how did it entail a rethinking of cinema, art, and the relationships between them?The answer to this question cannot be found by examining artistic practices alone; rather, a history of exhibitions is needed, one that does more than enshrine the curator as author.

This talk will take up this task by returning to the landmark 1990 exhibition “Passages de l’image.” Curated by Raymond Bellour, Catherine David, and Christine van Assche, it marked the first time the Centre Pompidou devoted an exhibition entirely to mechanically and electronically reproducible images. Drawing on archival research, this presentation will explore how “Passages” marks a key turning point in both the exhibition of moving images in the gallery and the reconfiguration of the relationship between art and cinema that has taken place in the last 30 years, delineating a field of inquiry that would be taken up internationally throughout the 1990s.

Erika Balsom is a senior lecturer in Film Studies and Liberal Arts at King’s College London. She is the author of After Uniqueness: A History of Film and Video Art in Circulation (2017) and Exhibiting Cinema in Contemporary Art (2013), and the co-editor of Documentary Across Disciplines (2016). Her article, “Instant Failure: Polaroid’s Polavision, 1977–80” is the winner of the 2018 Katherine Singer Kovacs essay award from the Society of Cinema and Media Studies. She is a frequent contributor to Artforum and Sight and Sound, and in 2017 was the international curator in residence at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery/Len Lye Centre, New Zealand, resulting in the 2018 screening program and publication An Oceanic Feeling: Cinema and the Sea.

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