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Author BORDERWALL AESTHETICS, ARTWORKS IN BORDER SPACES, Transcript Verlag ; Columbia University Press

2019-2020, 95 Illustrations, 250 pages, ISBN: 978-3-8376-4777-8 

Program Area: Art and Visual Studies, Art Theory

With a preface by Elisabeth Vallet, Scientific Director, Raoul Dandurand Chair of Strategic and Diplomatic Studies, at University of Quebec in Montreal, Canada.


30 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, we live in a time of globalization and free trade. Nevertheless, 70 new border walls have been built in this period – put together, they would cover the total circumference of the Earth. While governments offer manifold justifications for building these separation barriers, they invariably attract the attention of artists. Is it merely the lure of transgression, however, that attracts them – or is there a deeper significance in the artistic encounter with border walls? And which artistic strategies do these artists employ to approach them?

In order to address these questions, Elisa Ganivet revisits the history of border wall aesthetics and compares more recent border-related works by 100 artists, including Joseph Beuys (Berlin), Banksy (Israel-Palestine), and Frida Kahlo (Mexico-US). Through art and thus beyond art, we understand the flaws and shortcomings of supposedly well-oiled systems.


Author ESTHETIQUE DU MUR GEOPOLITIQUE Presses de l'Université du Québec

2015-2016, 220 pages, ISBN 978-2-7605-4360-7

Collection Enjeux Contemporains, Sous la direction de Élisabeth Vallet et Charles-Philippe David.

Préface d’Elisabeth Vallet, Directrice scientifique; Directrice de l'Observatoire de géopolitique; Chercheur en résidence à l'Observatoire sur les États-Unis, Professeure associée au département de géographie de l'Université de Québec à Montréal, Canada.


Des années après la chute du mur de Berlin, à l’heure de la mondialisation et du libre-échange, une cinquantaine de murs sont toujours érigés dans le monde, notamment autour du territoire d’Israël et à la frontière du Mexique et des États-Unis, où des barrières d’environ 500 km de long se dressent. Si les justifications énoncées par les États sont multiples – immigration clandestine, terrorisme, contrebande, etc. –, l’élévation d’une barrière de séparation semble reprendre une formule ancestrale de rejet de l’autre-étranger et transgresse le principe d’universalité. Sa matérialité archaïque entrant en conflit avec l’image d’un monde postmoderne et technologique, le mur cristallise un malaise qui se doit d’être élucidé par l’art. Sa visibilité et son sensationnalisme en font littéralement l’affiche d’un événement géopolitique, que les artistes investissent.

Qu’est-ce qui intéresse les artistes si le mur est conjoncturellement éphémère? Est-ce ses métamorphoses ou bien son cadre spatiotemporel? L’auteure de cet ouvrage compare trois murs – le mur de Berlin, la barrière de séparation entre Israël et l’auto­rité palestinienne et la frontière sécurisée entre le Mexique et les États-Unis – selon leur esthétique développée par trois artistes phares: Joseph Beuys, Banksy et Frida Kahlo. L’étude des contextes, enjeux et missions géopolitiques, appliquée à chaque barrière de séparation, rend compte des failles et des défaillances de systèmes a priori bien huilés. Car si le mur renvoie généralement à l’idée d’être chez soi et protégé, il peut aussi être synonyme d’isolement, que ce soit voulu ou non. Il est la structure physique et symbolique d’une dynamique carcérale.


Member of the Editorial Board : Borders in Globalization Review (BIG_Review) provides a forum for academic and creative explorations of borders in the 21st century. Our interest is advancing high-quality and original works in the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, that explore various aspects of borders in an increasingly globalized world. BIG_Review publishes scholarship (academic articles, review essays, research notes, and book reviews) as well as artwork (photography, painting, poetry, short stories, fiction reviews, and more). The journal is committed to academic peer review, public access, policy relevance, and cultural significance.Chief Editor: Dr. E. Brunet-Jailly, Professor & Jean Monnet Chair (2017-2020), School of Public Administration, University of Victoria, Canada



In the 21st century our image of a globalized world seems a priori paradoxical to the heavy increase in barriers designed to create or maintain divisions. We will focus on the artistic interpretation resulting from this paradox in the context of geopolitics, history and social situation. How and why the Wall should make think the artists? In a first step, historical development broadly reports the features and contexts of our phenomenal object. Then, effective phenomenology mainly refers to the Berlin Wall; this for an eventual metaphor to the two others studied objects-walls: the one located in Israel and Palestine, the other located between Mexico and the United States. Understanding of the Real is qualified by the sovereignty of States, understanding of the Symbolic via territory and cultural identity, and the realm of the Imaginary by the relationship with others and with oneself. The confrontation to the border (limologie) related to the strategy of the wall (teichos), would reveal an imbalance of principles of universality. Eventually, globalization as an exchange of interests is the one that would promote the existence of the object-wall; and a hyperreal perception of the object would be more the result from artists foreign to the phenomenon.



Field research of the artistic creation developed at the time of the Movida Madrilena. After the fall of the Francoist regime in 1975, Spain knew a cultural and artistic revival which was wrongly schematized as excess of all kinds. Delicates specificities of the democratic transition contrast with the most radical rupture from the Movida. The study of the sociological, political and economic context reveals the complexity and the spontaneity of a movement which is not declared as such. The capital "will be re-conquered” by a group of people thirsty for experiments and various expressions. Creation is expeditious, effective. Fashion, Music (rock'n'roll, punk, pop), figurative painting, photography and comic strip are mainly appreciated there. Almodóvar's movies are the most emblematic abroad; but the ground comes from all an underground wave, hedonist and apolitical, that we propose you to discover (again) here. A more thorough study of the visual artists (Ouka Leele, Ceesepe, El Hortelano, Las Costus) will show well the state of mind of that time.



This ground approach allows to discover creation in the utopian city of Auroville.The experiment of ten artists reveals us a part of the concerns of this international community. Creative space and its architectural environment are the products of an ideal yet to develop. How do the artists interpret this permanent research and of the multicultural influences? The utopia can be understood according to the creations which revolve around it. 

The development of Auroville is based on the local population; the city is thus characterized by a particular integration into the Indian medium environment. With its artisanal productions, particularly speaking, the creativity belongs to a new aesthetic variation. Born from a spiritual approach, the evolution of the concepts of the utopian city is complex and sometimes paradoxical. The ground project (led from June to September, 2003) is based on the talks with aurovillians artists. About thirty photographs, in colour and black & white, give good evidence of their activities in the city.