International conference / PICTURES WITHOUT QUALITIES

  • Tuesday 23rd January 2018
    Centre André Malraux
    rue François Couperin, 76000 Rouen
  • Wednesday 24th January 2018
    Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rouen
    26bis, rue Jean Lecanuet, 76000 Rouen

Artists, curators, historians, anthropologists and philosophers are invited for a series of  presentations and exchanges related to the production and artistic value of non-artistic pictures.
Popular both inside and outside the artworld, these pictures “without qualities” are to be understood as ordinary, hardly perceptible or even boring pictures likely to challenge or subvert representation.
Having neither noticeable material or aesthetic qualities nor defined characteristics, these pictures might be related to Robert Musil’s notorious term Eigenschaften. term used namely in his unfinished novel The Man Without Qualities.


Colette Hyvrard, Stéphanie Solinas, Tania Vladova (VOIR/ESADHaR RESEARCH PROGRAM)


Through this term with no obvious negative meaning, Musil describes a man with no profound essence, a man with an ambiguous attitude towards life, and whose ideas and opinions are rather difficult to perceive and represent.
In the course of the conference, we will question what the pictorial counterpart of this “man without qualities” could be.

One of the conference’s goals is to circumscribe more precisely how pictures without qualities can affect our understanding of art-making and frame our visual culture. Moreover, by examining various uses of poor or modest pictures, we would like to understand if and how they modify the range of the visible world and the issues of perception.

Ultimately, the issue  raised is whether the criteria defining a “good picture” have been transformed by the constantly growing artistic and non-artistic practice of pictures without qualities, and how.


Free entrance


The conference will be followed by the inauguration of the monographic exhibition of  Beninese artist  Georges Adéagbo. The artist has been invited by VOIR/ESADHaR-Research Program

Jan. 23rd - 12pm - Centre André Malraux
Jan. 23rd - 6pm -  Hùs Space ESADHaR
Jan. 25th  - 4pm - Musée de Beaux-Arts de Rouen



VOIR is a research program laureate which is supported by an ESADHaR research grant. It examines questions of perception and visual culture. MORE


Photo : Laura Burdzy
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