Conference: Tableau – Painting Photo Object @ Tate Modern

Friday 28th October, 10.30am -5.30pm and Saturday29th October, 10.30am – 5.30pm, Tate Modern Starr Auditorium

This conference at Tate Modern addresses the question: why do so many contemporary artists, working across all media (paintings, photographs, objects, installations, live art), build on pictorial traditions of image construction to set the scene for new narratives? Variously described as tableau, dispositif and apparatus, these related conditions have been analysed by some of the most incisive thinkers on contemporary art and form the subject of this symposium.

The word tableau does not seamlessly translate into painting as witnessed in its central use in Michael Fried’s Why Photography Matters as Art as Never Before 2008. It has come to stand for a series of discourses that address questions of artistic practice, the status of the art object and questions of spectatorship.

The centrality of tableau to recent discussions about photographic artistic practice is preceded by its presence in France in discussion around an expanded field in painting. Jean-François Chevrier has alluded to the return of tableau as a term and its possible implications in The Adventures of the Picture Form in the History of Photography. Here the idea of tableau as ‘image-object’ provides a means to explore a structural relationship between painting and photography as associated pictorial forms. In relation to this, the concepts of apparatus and dispositif (associated with Althusser, Foucault and Agamben) bear many structural similarities to these emerging formulations of the tableau where questions of ideology and signification are at work. The increasing use of all three terms in critical visual art practices is the basis for the papers in this conference.

Keynote presentations by Philip Armstrong, Fulvia Carnevale, Jean-François Chevrier, Michael Fried, Michael Newman and research papers by Moyra Derby, Adi Efal, Françis Gaube, Atsuhide Ito, Cédric Loire and Andrea Medjesi Jones. You can find out more on the Tableau Project blog.

Tate Modern  Starr Auditorium
£30 (£20 concessions), booking required
For tickets book online
or call 020 7887 8888.

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