Art by Translation is a research and exhibition program initiated by the École Nationale Supérieure d’Arts de Paris-Cergy and the École Supérieure d'Art et de Design TALM-Angers, directed by Maud Jacquin and Sébastien Pluot, in collaboration with artist Jeff Guess (from 2017 to 2019) and Renaud Auguste-Dormeuil (since 2020). It is supported by the French Ministry of Culture and collaborates with a host of international academic and art institutions.
Organized in sessions dedicated to specific research themes, this itinerant program takes place at different sites in Europe and North America and develops artistic and curatorial projects, discursive events and publications in collaboration with museums, art schools and universities. In each context, research is enriched by the contributions of international artists, lecturers, doctoral and master’s students from different disciplines.
Art by Translation is a postgraduate program that involves 4 artists selected for each year-long session. They attend the program in its different international contexts and contribute to research, participate in seminars and workshops with students from the host cities and produce new works presented in the Art by Translation exhibitions and events.
Each session’s research focus is defined in such a way as to be disseminated across a variety of disciplinary contexts (fine arts, dance, film, writing, art history and theory, architecture, design, etc.). For the first session, the research focuses on the processes and ideological stakes of translation in the arts. The research subjects for following years are defined as extensions or outgrowths of previously developed issues.
The program considers the notion of process as a crucial feature for the production and diffusion of critical art and theory. As Mel Bochner has stated, the goal is “not to make art but to do art.” The art projects and research experimentations this program seeks to develop are based on a conception of artworks and exhibitions as generative. Research is conceived as a permanent process of translation and dissemination. Art by Translation thus incorporates a flexible approach allowing projects to develop organically in various contexts and in a variety of formats: artworks, architectural constructions, exhibitions, study sessions, workshops, symposia and publications with invited artists and lecturers.
Its model aims to foster an experimental context for research and art practices. The discussions, debates, and collaborations that typically take place at the margins of exhibitions are expanded and engaged throughout the curatorial process, and materialized as part of the exhibition itself. In foregrounding research and upsetting the temporal limits of curatorial conventions, the program seeks to fill existing gaps in pedagogical and exhibition practices and to propose a model of collaboration among art schools, universities, and exhibition venues with the involvement of artists, historians, theoreticians, and curators across many disciplines.
The program tends to break with the conventional chronology of “research-exhibition-publication” and aims to reconfigure the boundaries between disciplines. Projects (exhibitions, artworks, texts) are not considered as final results but rather as stages in a process and points of departure for further elaborations. The program creates collaborative situations in which artists and curators produce both individual and collective projects. What is emphasized are the debates and ideas generated by the collaborative situations. Art by Translation produces an evolving research archive that grows and takes on different forms while adapting to different contexts. This archive serves as a basis for interpretation or reactivation rather than constituting an inactive memory of projects. This website presents these archives along with documentation and publications from various events and productions.