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ADRI research seminar: Javier Gimeno Martinez
Thursday 7th March at 17:30 in room G230, The Grove, Hendon Campus

ADRI research seminar with Javier Gimeno Martinez (VU Amsterdam):

The Periphery of Art. Forging the 1980s Concept of Design at Documenta 8 (1987)

In the early 1980s, design had already acquired a certain status in the artistic world but its definitive consecration appeared at Documenta 8 in 1987. This exhibition popularized however only a particular conception of design. The complex nature of design as a cross-roads discipline between crafts, art and industrial design was reduced to a one-dimensional vision, since the exhibited pieces were underpinned by concepts such as authorship and one-off production. As a result, Documenta 8 put the accent on art-related design and ignored industry-oriented design. In other words, Documenta 8 accredited the formula for the “museumification” of design in the 1980s. In doing so, this exhibition acted as a catalyst of previous ideas on design.

This paper analyses an art mega-exhibition such as Documenta as a defining agent for design. It explores which side of design was exposed and which was concealed as well as the impact of this exhibition for the inclusion of design in the circuits of art. This paper argues that the consequences were two-fold. Firstly, it redefined design as a cultural issue and made this idea both artistically and academically acceptable. Secondly, as far as contemporary craft is concerned, it presumed craft’s definite exclusion of the art circuit.


About the presenter:

Javier Gimeno Martínez is Assistant Professor at the VU University Amsterdam and research coordinator at the Artesis University College of Antwerp. He holds a MA-degree in Industrial Design from the Universidad Cardenal Herrera, Valencia (Spain) and an MA-degree on Art History from the Universidad de Valencia. He got his PhD in 2006 from the KULeuven with the dissertation “The Role of the Creative Industries in the Construction of Regional European Identities (1975-2002): Design and Fashion in Belgium and Spain.” He was a visiting scholar in the department of Design History at the Royal College of Art (London, UK) for the year 2009-2010.

Location: Room G230, The Grove, Hendon Campus, Middlesex University

Time: Thursday 7th March at 17:30

Light refreshments are available.