Discover/Uncover Modernism

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Oscar Niemeyer’s
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Symposium Regarding Suspended Architecture 
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Photo credit :

© Cécile Bourgade, 2013

   Suspended spaces - Discover / Uncover Modernism

    International Symposium, December 6 and 7, 2013

    Espace Oscar Niemeyer, headquarters of the French communist Party

This symposium is a new step in the project Suspended Spaces, it will address questions in regards to the modalities of creation starting from the paradigm spaces of a modernism yet to be rediscovered, through its most forgotten, unwanted pieces.

The main hypothesis of this project could be qualified as both theoretical and artistic, or rather artistic and theoretical if we were to respect its chronological and specific genesis: this hypothesis states we could salvage something from modernism, seek for its heritage instead of wiping it out, and rediscover it through a modernism located out of the Western time space and into its Eastern and Latin American places.

Modernism's mourning can be spotted in many speeches and artworks, like an inheritance without heirs, struggling against time erosion and history repairs. This struggle can be considered as a worried state of mind and an attention turned to suspended, occupied or tied up spaces; an imperative experience in symptoms of failed modernism, which leaves us to believe there is something to be salvaged; a fascination refusing to give in to any melancholic or nostalgic gaze. Stepping away from the central viewpoint where the modernist doxa was born, moving east and south, we offer to discover the modernisms and to build the stories that derive from their updates.

The latest step of the project happened in Lebanon in April 2013, around Oscar Niemeyer's unfinished International Fair  (at the end of the 60s in in Tripoli, North Lebanon). About thirty french, lebanese and international artists and theoreticians gathered for the symposium named Regarding Suspended Architecture in Lebanon. An exhibition is currently presented at the Art & Essay gallery in Rennes 2, Conversation Pieces - Une Proposition Suspended spaces (november - décember 2013). The travel to Lebanon and the exchanges here and there will give rise in 2014 to a publication, Suspended spaces # 3, and an exhibition at the Niteroi museum, which is another Niemeyer building in Rio de Janeiro's bay (end 2014).

The International Conference taking place in Paris will articulate together two phases in the project  and two specific locations, Lebanon and Brazil. It will allow us to position Oscar Niemeyer's peculiar situation in the context of a modernity and a modernism that not only embody the notions of cultural anthropophagy, interracial mixing and diversity, but also generate utopia aspirations triggered by the idea of progress and universalism, in a conflictual and unstable environment.  

 Scientific research authorities :

Jacinto Lageira, laboratoire Aesthetica, Institut ACTE, UMR-CNRS,

Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne.

Françoise Parfait, laboratoire Aesthetica, Institut ACTE, UMR-CNRS,

Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne.

Eric Valette, Centre de Recherche

en Arts et Esthétique,

Université de Picardie Jules Verne

Université Paris 1


Institut ACTE

UMR 8218 - CNRS

Æsthetica, Art et philosophie