David Sylvester


L’INFORME: MODE D’EMPLOI” (The formless: a user’s manual), at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, was one of the best theme exhibitions I have ever seen, one of the few that couldn’t have been done as a book or a film. The show’s intellectual interest was guaranteed, given that its curators were Rosalind Krauss and Yve-Alain Bois, but what made it great was the visual spectacle—the freedom and audacity, as well as precision and quality, in the selection and placement of the works. In four sections loosely organized around Georges Bataille’s notion of “the formless”— “horizontality,” “pulse,” “base materialism,” and “entropy”—a provocative network of relationships on the map of art, and life, was established through the kind of editorial knack Bataille himself demonstrated in Documents. Thus, perfectly chosen large-scale pieces by Mike Kelley, James Coleman, Cindy Sherman,

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