Bibliothèque Kandinsky

Publication of a research tool on Les Immatériaux

Sarah Marcq
28 juillet 2023


Explore the digital archives of the exhibition Les Immatériaux (1985) now available online, offering a glimpse into the history of this iconic "manifestation" at the Centre Pompidou.



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    Access the search tool 

    Perform a refined search 

A broader undertakingLogo de Beyond Matter

  • Beyond Matter

This search tool is a product of the European research project "Beyond Matter - Cultural Heritage on the Verge of Virtual Reality." Led by the Zentrum für Kunst und Medien (ZKM) in Karlsruhe, the project spanned from October 2019 to May 2023, with the participation of esteemed European art institutions such as the Centre Pompidou, the Ludwig Muzeum in Budapest, the Sihtasutus Kunstihoone art center in Tallinn, the Tirana Art Lab, and the Aalto Korkeakoulusaation art school in Helsinki. Together, they collaborated on virtual reconstruction tools for past exhibitions and reflected on digital documentation of ongoing showcases.


Capture d'écran de la reconstitution 3D des Immatériaux
Screenshot of the Les Immatériaux 3D model, exhibition site "Toutes les copies".

At the Centre Pompidou, the project yielded:

→ A 3D reconstruction of Les Immatériaux
→ A research seminar titled "Revisiting Les Immatériaux" on June 9th and 10th, 2023
→ An exhibition titled "'Les Immatériaux' (1985)
Overview of a postmodern manifestation in the Centre Pompidou
" on level 4, in the area dedicated to film, video, sound, and digital works, from July 5th to October 30th, 2023.



  • The culmination of several years of research

The Les Immatériaux search tool represents the culmination of research conducted in the context of "Beyond Matter" and the personal research led by Andreas Broeckmann, curator and  associate art historian at the Leuphana University of Lüneburg, and Marie Vicet, PhD holder in contemporary art history. It provides a centralized platform for accessing the textual, photographic, and audiovisual archives they have studied, described, and digitized.


Discovering a historic cultural event


  • Les Immatériaux : A trailblazing exhibition

Taking place from March to July 1985, Les Immatériaux was organized by the Centre de Création Industrielle of the Centre Pompidou, with philosopher Jean-François Lyotard and design theorist Thierry Chaput as the curators. It stands as the most expensive exhibition ever hosted by the Centre Pompidou. It was designed as more of a philosophical show than a purely artistic exhibition. The curators used this medium as a way to reflect on the human condition in the era of emerging technologies and the advent of postmodernity. 

This experimental exhibition was concieved as a "manifestation" (i.e. french for event, demonstration). Les Immatériaux gave rise to a three-volume publication and an "additional program" (seminars, concerts, screenings, an exhibition at the BPI,...). With its innovative scenography, the exhibition facilitated multi-sensory experiences and encouraged audience interactivity. Equipped with headphones, visitors were immersed in a spatially varying soundtrack across the exhibition space, which comprised 26 sound zones. The space was also divided into five paths and 60 sections known as "exhibition sites."

Vue d'exposition
View of the site "Labyrinthe du langage" (CCI 147.279).
Plan de l'exposition
Exhibition plan showing the repartition of the sites and the five paths, 23/09/1984 (1995W052 27).


  • Features of the search tool

Designed to assist researchers, this catalog contains resources organized in a tree structure, enabling navigation between different thematic sections. Access to digital resources, available at the end of each branch in the tree structure, requires user authentication. The resources include archival documents providing an overview of the exhibition, such as press documents, video and audio trailersplans, as well as specific administrative or conceptual documents about initial reflexions on the project, unrealized exhibition sites, or the dismantling of the exhibition. Photographs can be effective ways to get a glimpse of the scenography and can be found within various exhibition site folders, as well as in the "Montage" and "Inauguration des Immatériaux" folders.

Certain entries feature links to additional online resources, or notes on the content when necessary.


Screenshot of the files attached to the page "Système sonore infrarouge utilisé dans l'exposition"​​​
Screenshot of the files accessible at the bottom of the page "Système sonore infrarouge utilisé dans l'exposition"​​​
Part of the tree structure.



Instructions for use


  • Front page of the "Petit journal" of Les Immatériaux
    Front page of the "Petit journal" for Les Immatériaux (PP 1995006).

    Organization and navigation


To navigate the tool, simply click on the titles displayed in the tree structure located on the right side of the screen. Sections can be expanded or collapsed as needed. Occasionally, hyperlinks leading to other entries within the tool can be found in the "Sources complémentaires" section. The digitized documents are accessible at the bottom of each entry, with file names corresponding to their reference in the Centre Pompidou archives (removing the '_'). Descriptions of the documents will soon be available in the viewer.


  • Conduct a targeted search

The buttons 'Perform a refined search' above and below lead to an advanced search model that allows searching through the digital resources on Les Immatériaux. The first and second lines should be left as they are. The user can then search in all fields of the pages or add a search criterion ('ajouter un critère de recherche') and select indexes to narrow down certain fields (title, person, category, ...).


 Start exploring ! 

   Access the search tool 

   Perform a refined search 


Affiche de l'exposition Les Immatériaux (AF 9300096).