View of “The Promises of the Past,” 2010, Centre Pompidou, Paris. Photos: Georges Meguerditchian.

IMAGINE WALKING THROUGH an exhibition in zigzags, not because you have to slalom between freely arranged objects or chaotically wandering viewers, but because the space itself dictates a meandering path. The only thing you can do is move alongside walls that are at various angles to one another, with recesses and niches here and there. You make some sharp turns, some gentle ones, as if you were riding a roller coaster, only horizontally and through art history. Pictures appear around corners, the eye gliding over successive surfaces, successive narratives that converge, forming transgenerational and transregional sets—the young artist David Maljković confronting the late-modern artist Vojin Bakić (both Croatian) or Cyprien Gaillard (French) facing Alexander Ugay (Kazakh)—and then diverge or break off abruptly. Finally, you notice that you are walking in a loop, heading

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