Pierre-Yves Desaive
Since 2003
Works in Brussels Belgium

Art historian and art critic, I specialize in contemporary art, media art and museology. I graduated in History of Art from the University of Liège, Belgium, where I also earned a degree in Applied Computer Science in the Humanities. After working as an assistant at the Art Collections of the University of Liège, and for the Art historians association of the University, I joined the staff of the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium in Brussels, where he I am currently head of the Digital Museum department, and working on curatorial projects for the Modern and Contemporary Art department. President of the Belgian section of the International Association of Art Critics (AICA) from 2009 to 2012, member of the International Council Of Museums (ICOM), I regularly publish articles on contemporary art for various magazines (Flash Art, Contemporary Magazine, L'Art Même, Flux News, ...), catalogues or galleries. As a freelance curator, I have organized several exhibitions in Belgium and abroad. Member of the Digital Art Commission of the Ministry of Culture, I am interested in the way network technologies interact with contemporary art. Professor at the National Superior School for Visual Arts (ENSAV – La Cambre, Brussels), I teach a class entitled “Media and Contemporary Art”, where I underline the challenges of today’s digital societies from an artistic point of view.
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the re-materialization of art - Remixed

It's Pierre-Yves, sorry, but people keep on misspelling my name, so sometimes it's better to switch to the english version - and my question was : is it the point to make those artists look stupid by asking them silly questions ? That is what it looks like, and I don't think it's fair. And yes, let's all take english lessons.


the re-materialization of art - Remixed

What is your point, Salvatore ? (apart from encouraging everyone to take english lessons once in a while)


The Rematerialization of Art

I attended the "Holy Fire" debate held in "Art Brussels" on saturday (April 19).

First I don't know if any of you has seen photographs of the room where it took place, because I think the setting (a mixture between Space Invadors and Goldorak) tells a lot about how the contemporary art world (The Art Brussels Fair) looks at New Media Art world : a bunch of computer geeks suffering a severe Peter Pan syndrome (or was the setting conceived by the organizers of Holy Fire ? - maybe not the best message to send to the contemporary art world...).

This was the main question of the debate : is new media art part of contemporary art ? First everybody seemed to agree on that point, before spending an hour pointing out the specificities of new media art works compared to contemporary art works… :

-conservation, preservation : unlike the other forms of art, technology based works - especially digital technology - do not suffer from time itself, but from the obsolesence of the technology on which they are based ; someone (sorry, I forgot who it was) explaining that museums of the future will hire programmers as restorers ;
-exhibition, promotion : Alexeï Shulgin pointed out how new media art works in the closed circuit of festival and conferences, where the exhibitors are mostly professors or students. And I would add : who know these people ? who has ever heard of Shulgin, Cosic, Bunting, Lialina, Napier and others outside the new media art sphere ?
-the art market : Stephen Sacks explained how he moved to Chelsea to be in the middle of contemporary art galleries, in order to blur the borders between contemporary and new media art : why then describe Biforms as a gallery that « embraces new media and contemporary art practice » ?

Alexeï Shulgin had that beautiful remark of new media art works being based on the same technology as washing machines or televisions - and therefore, they should be used as « art products », with a limited lifespan : consumable products, to echoe the « NeoPop Resurgence » mentioned by P. Lichty. No wonder Cory Arcangel is fully part of the contemporary art scene : his works address several of the key issues of contemporary art, among which the irony towards the act of collecting. Nevertheless, the very nature of his works (think of the burned plasma screen) involves specific means of preservation and exhibition.

New media art = contemporary art ? I don’t think so.

From a museum perspective : in the museum of modern and contemporary art, there is a departement of technological art, in which there is a section devoted to digital and new media art - works using digital technology, computer programs, sensors, networks connections and so on.

And from the market point of view : collectors of new media art are well aware of their specificity among other collectors.

Claiming that new media art is contemporary art gone digital won’t help these works to escape the ghetto. What needs to be done is to turn the ghetto into a better place to live, with artists getting the recognition they deserve, with their works being bought and collected for what they are.