Art as encounter

Anke Coumans, Jeroen Boomgaard (Editor)

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In this essay I will discuss the specific nature of art practices in which the artist and his audience are moving away from the more traditional relationship in which the artist merely displays his art in museums or public spaces. They consist of intimate and personal processes made possible by the grace of the artistic space that is separating itself from the coded space around it. In these practices the public takes on a different role than that of the passive spectator. The involvement of the public in what art is and can be becomes part of the experience. This turns art into something to be a part of rather than something that is simply handed over to you. More specifically, these art practices allow for a time and site-specific situated form of co-ownership, through which the artistic environment created by the artist becomes the condition for experiencing new ideas and insights. In relation to theatre, the French philosopher Jacques Rancière (1940-) writes in The Emancipated Spectator (2015) about “a theater without an audience” that “no longer tempts with its images but teaches the audience something that turns them into active participants rather than passive voyeurs”. (Rancière 2015: 9-10) These practices are not new. New is perhaps the shift of focus from public participation in processes of interaction towards developing a theatrical space that not only makes other types of expression possible, but also taking on other roles and with that, other perspectives. This notion will therefore be the main focus of this text.
Translated title of the contributionKunst als ontmoeting
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBeing public
Subtitle of host publicationhow art creates the public
EditorsJeroen Boomgaard, Rogier Brom
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
Number of pages9
ISBN (Print)978-94-92095-28-2
Publication statusPublished - 12 May 2017


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