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19 July 2015

Tony Oursler, Rencontres d’Arles 2015



An exhibition commissioned and produced by the LUMA foundation for the Parc des Ateliers in Arles, France.

‘Imponderable’ is an extensive research project that investigates the personal collection of American artist Tony Oursler, a remarkable trove of more than 2,500 photographs, publications and unique objects, tracking a social, spiritual and intel‐ lectual history dating back to the early eighteenth century.

The project’s title, Imponderable, suggests the idea of something that cannot be determined with accuracy. Eighteenth‐ century scientists used the word to describe magnetism, electricity, and other then‐unquantifiable energies, many of which are represented in Oursler’s archive. Imponderable also suggests a sphere of speculation laden with beliefs and nurtured by the supernatural. For Oursler, these personal archives based on the history of science, optics, performance, and religion also have roots in family history.

The complex collection illustrates humanity’s insatiable curiosity and its propensity to believe in images, spectacles, texts, etc. It covers
categories such as magic,, spirit photography, optics, and the supernatural, to mention just a few. The Tony Oursler Archives and their ‘translation’ into the form of a film, an installation, and a publication provide new insight into both the material gathered by the artist over many years and the trajectory of his own work.

Curated by Beatrix Ruf and Tom Eccles, Imponderable translates the original archival materials into a new exhibition; a new film, installation, and publication exploring the boundaries of human belief and disbelief, the paranormal, and mystical exploration.

For the LUMA foundation in Arles, this exhibition investigates new possibilities for combining archives and artistic production, one of its primary concerns.



Exhibition curators: Beatrix Ruf and Tom Eccles.

Exhibition commissioned and produced by the LUMA foundation for the parc des Ateliers, Arles, France.

Publication: Imponderable: the Archives of Tony Oursler, LUMA foundation, 2015.

Exhibition venue: Atelier des forges, parc des Ateliers.