Artists Remake the World
The Author

The Author : Estelle Zhong Mengual


A former student at the ‘Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon’, Estelle Zhong Mengual possesses a doctorate in the History of Art. She completed her thesis on the current artistic and political stakes of participative art at Sciences-Po Paris, under the direction of Laurence Bertrand Dorléac. She is currently working on ways in which contemporary art can enrich our relationships and sensitivity to the world around us, in the context of the ecological crisis. She co-directed the work ‘Reclaiming Art. Reshaping Democracy’ (Presses du Réel, May 2017), and is the author of “L’art en commun. Réinventer les formes du collectif en contexte démocratique,” [“Art in Common. Reinventing Collective Forms in a Democratic Context”] (to be published by Presses du Réel in April, 2018).

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Investigation by Estelle Zhong Mengual
24 April 2018

Experiencing democracy

Investigation by Estelle Zhong Mengual

The awarding of the prestigious Turner Prize to the English architect collective Assemble in December 2015 turned the public eye onto a branch of participatory art that continues to remain misunderstood. In her discussion of this artistic practice, which is more a part of the social sphere than the art world, Estelle Zhong Mengual draws on the example of Lone Twin, an English collective (Gregg Whelan and Gary Winters) who from 2011 to 2012 collaborated with volunteers to build a sailboat out of 1221 pieces of wood gathered from across England. Today, the boat can be hired by anyone, for any use. Building on ideas by John Dewey, Estelle Zhong Mengual sees in this practice a chance to experience the democratic ideal, in the sense of a “community of action” comprised of heterogeneous individuals.

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