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Cristina Baldacci – Impossible Archives: An Obsession of Contemporary Art


Mudam Auditorium



10€ (exhibition access included)


This event takes place under the Covid-Check regime

The need to classify, or to bring a variety of objects back to a certain number of hierarchically ordered types in order to grasp and understand the world, accompanies those moments in history in which a crisis of knowledge is perceived with greater intensity. Even if today, in the age of total information, the renewed interest in classifying and archiving perhaps arises from the need to orient oneself in an excess of knowledge that produces disorientation.

Yet, every classification of the world is in itself arbitrary, tentative, incomplete, inclined to a perfection that cannot be reached. Confining the real in predefined categories is always an act of force, a fictitious representation, which makes appear what it is not and is affected by the choices and canons of a specific creator.

What happens when artists create new classifications and approach archives, each with different intentions and methods? In most cases, they make a transgressive – sometimes even radical – gesture to constantly re-enact, rehabilitate, renegotiate our knowledge and memory. Often revealing the relationship between power and knowledge in its many forms, or reflecting on ontological-metaphysical problems concerning our (post-human) future. As a result, artists conceive “impossible” archival projects; that is, such atypical or sometimes encyclopaedic endeavours which represent a counter-model and can only remain unfinishable. The lecture will focus on some representative archival projects by contemporary artists and photographers who have engaged with the classification of the (natural) world.

Cristina Baldacci (PhD) is a Contemporary Art Historian and (from 2018) Senior Researcher at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, where she teaches History of Photography, in relation to Visual Arts and Cultures. Her research focuses mainly on the archive as a metaphor. Baldacci is a convenor of the ‘Re-’ Interdisciplinary Network at CRASSH, University of Cambridge, and a member of the research group Global Art Archive, Universitat de Barcelona. She was a Fellow (2016–2018) and Affiliated Fellow (2018–2020) at ICI Berlin. Among her recent publications are Over and Over and Over Again: Reenactment Strategies in Contemporary Arts and Theory(forthcoming) and On Reenactment: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools (forthcoming), Double Trouble in Exhibiting the Contemporary: Art Fairs and Shows (2020), the co-edited issue Archive is Politics of “Routes&Roots” magazine (2020) and the co-edited volumes: Montages: Assembling as a Form and Symptom in Contemporary Arts (2018), Abstraction Matters: Contemporary Sculptors in Their Own Words (2018) and the monograph Archivi impossibili: un’ossessione dell’arte contemporanea (2016/2019).

Covid-Check: Please note that this event takes place under the Covid-Check regime. Access is therefore strictly limited to people who have been vaccinated, tested or who have recovered from Covid-19 disease. Each visitor from 6 years old must present a valid certificate. The accepted certificates are:

- Certificate of vaccination against Covid-19 (complete vaccination schedule)
- Certificate of negative Covid-19 test (PCR or certified antigen)
- Certificate of recovery from Covid-19 disease

If you wish to be tested on site, please note that you must wait 15 minutes for the result to be valid.

For more information about Covid-Check, please visit the website:

Wearing a face mask is still recommended.
Please present yourself 15 minutes before the beginning of the event at the entrance desk.

We are looking forward to welcoming you at Mudam.

Important: Current restrictions limit the number of people we can receive at our events. It is all the more important to inform us in case of cancellation so that other people can benefit from your places ( Thank you.

Cristina Baldacci