“École du Magasin (1987–2016): How Fitting an End.”


“By the end of the aughts, however, the École found itself in a relatively precarious place within an art center with which it had less and less interaction. From that time onward, participants were challenged by working cooperatively within budgetary restrictions and instability. Within this context and following the departure of Alice Vergara in 2009, Lore Gablier was recruited as coordinator and for the next three years worked closely with artist Fareed Armaly, who had just completed his first term as tutor at the École—a role he would hold until 2012. Armaly was already familiar with the context of Le Magasin and its École: not only had he collaborated in the past with Aupetitallot and notably played a key role in the exhibition “Project Unité,” but his approach to media (which informed his artistic program as director of the Künstlerhaus in Stuttgart, Germany) inspired the project “Digital Deviance,” on which he was a consultant. As Marianna Hovhannisyan, participant in the eighteenth session of the École (2008–2009), recalled:

Within the context of Le Magasin, the end of the decade felt like a transition—leaving their 1990s focus on more direct results of group exhibitions and confronting the broader issues to be considered in pedagogical curatorial frameworks, which included artistic production and exhibition-making. This context matched well with having Armaly as the session project tutor. Less immediate emphasis was put on the representative outcome of an exhibition, and more on first developing the research process and group-oriented experiment while having in mind the École’s mandate for a collaborative exhibition. For example, with my colleagues, the idea was to first work with a blog format (title: Season18), and from the beginning of the session, to enact our individual research and group dialogue through a fixed number of “episodes.” Such a guidance from Armaly aimed at producing, reflecting on, and archiving the research of the group, and also making public the possible foundations of a transition to the final exhibition project.”

During its final years, the École du Magasin faced increasing external and internal challenges. Coordinators whose contracts were subject to annual renewals were repeatedly turned over, thus affecting the stability of the pedagogical team and preventing the implementation of a long-term pedagogical vision. Following the 1999 Bologna Declaration, the principles of independent study that had constituted the École’s pedagogical identity became more difficult to sustain as degree-granting and academic alignment gained ground. In this changing landscape, the École du Magasin found itself increasingly marginalized, despite its international reputation.”