Call for Papers: l’art à l’heure archéologique, Histoire de l’art issue no. 90, Deadline: 15 January 2022

The archaeological approach inspires today as much the art historians as the artists. The
patient reconstitution of the past that archaeologists make from fragmentary remains whose
context is meticulously analyzed opens new ways to the analysis of works but also to the
artistic creation. Beyond the mere “taste for ruins,” it is indeed the principles and methods of
archaeology that nourish the reflection on art. This issue of Histoire de l’art proposes to
explore different aspects of the dialogue between art and archaeology, in a resolutely broad
perspective. It also invites us to question the complex relationships, both on the academic
and scientific levels, between the two sister disciplines of art history and archaeology. This
call for papers is thus addressed to young researchers in art history, archaeology, history,
or anthropology interested in the avenues of research outlined below, regardless of their
preferred period.

By taking an interest in the sometimes modest vestiges of a more or less distant past,
archaeologists draw attention to objects that a quick eye would judge to be hopeless, so
much so that their degradation makes them enigmatic. Their serialization and
archaeometric analyses allow the reconstruction of whole sections of the past and give an
unexpected value to collections or monuments that were once neglected. This type of
investigation has breathed new life into art history—the pioneering work of Jean Marcadé
comes to mind—and inspires artists to this day, as the exhibitions “The Way of the Shovel”
at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago in 2013 and “Anarchéologie” at the Centre
Pompidou in Paris in 2017 have shown. The ability of archaeologists to render a vanished
world is also a powerful engine for the imagination, and artists have seized upon the
computerized visualization tools created for archaeology.
Archaeology is also a field discipline, attentive to the spatial inscription of the vestiges and
to their relationship to the environment. Collaboration with archaeologists pushes art
historians to leave the museums and to place the works in their architectural or natural
context, as Jane Fejfer did for example for the Roman portraits. This interest in the site, its
evolution and then its destruction has also given rise to numerous collaborations between
archaeologists and artists, such as the pioneering work of Anne and Patrick Poirier, the
collaborative process of “reappearing” the Northwest Palace of Nimrud by Michael
Rakowitz, or the sound technologies employed by Forensic Architecture or Umashankar
and the Earchaeologists.

A human science, archaeology is a critical discipline, which proposes an interpretation of
the past from new elements, drawn from oblivion by the excavation. If this capacity of
archaeology to write history has sometimes been instrumentalized, it often brings on the
contrary a denial to warped readings of the past. Works of art, archaeological objects in
their own right, contribute to this re-examination and allow us to refine our historical
knowledge, as John Ma’s work on honorary statuary shows. Artists have also seized upon
this capacity of the remains to carry a new analytical discourse, revealing political, social
and even environmental issues. The actions of removal (Yuji Agematsu), excavation
(Simon Callery), relocation (Danh Vo) and museification (Mark Dion, Ali Cherri, Rayyane
Tabet) are all ways for artists to question narratives and reveal the polysemy of the
discourse linked to an artifact.

The issue will be coordinated by Guillaume Biard (Aix-Marseille Université), Jean-Baptiste
Delorme (Centre National des Arts Plastiques), and Arianna Esposito (Université de

The journal is edited by Dominique de Font-Réaulx (Musée du Louvre).
Synopses (in French or English), including a presentation of the problematized subject
(1 page), a brief bibliography on the subject and a biography of the author (500 characters),
should be emailed as a single PDF file to by
January 15, 2022. The editorial board will review the submitted proposals. Selected
projects will be published in articles due May 1, 2022.

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