Exhibition as Psycho-Aesthetic Form and Backdrop as Character

Public defence of PhD thesis by Charlotte Born Sprogøe Petersen.

Assessment committee

  • Professor Frederik Tygstrup, Chair (University of Copenhagen)
  • Artist-Researcher Lea Porsager (Malmö Art Academy)
  • Curator and Lecturer Mathieu Copeland (Head Geneva)

Head of Defence

  • Associate professor Laura Louise Schulz (University of Copenhagen)

Copies of the thesis will be available from 1 March at:

  • Department of Arts and Cultural Studies, Karen Blixens Vej 1, Building 21, 3rd floor, room 21.3.17
  • Copenhagen University Library, KUB South Campus, Karen Blixens Plads 7
  • The Black Diamond, Søren Kierkegaards Plads 1


This curatorial practice-based PhD project examines the curatorial practice behind conceptually based exhibitions that come into formation as hosts of mental states, variations of intensities, and theatres of energies, becoming “autonomous” but “anti-objectivistic” forms. Off-site exhibitions relating to their lifeworld framework as an extension, living backdrop, and psycho-aesthetic display structure. Exhibitions that each come into their variation of artificial life, and lucid dream state – as choreographed, algorithmic “game of life” realms where the living seems to be “lurking in the background” or waiting to happen.

These exhibitions hold a blurry line between display, framing, backdrop, architecture, artwork and exhibition as form, each element sliding into each other, crossing thresholds in a process where shifting occurs between what element is activated and made present in the exhibition. As elements are turned on and turned off, intensified, or just exhibited. The dissertation comprises a series of three exhibitions curated as three different mental states of affect – Desire, Hurt, and Tension – exploring intensity, negativity, attitude, tonality and lifeforce as forces evolving the exhibitions as aesthetic forms (in motion).