Displacement in contemporary art

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter examines the representation of displacement in contemporary art. Displacement may involve persons displaced as refugees or asylum seekers, or due to climate change or other social disruption. Contemporary art is largely a global art, exhibiting works on an international scale at biennales, triennales, and major exhibitions, such as Documenta. Curators play a significant role in setting thematic parameters for commissioned works. As an example, one of the themes of the 2007 Documenta exhibition was ‘What is bare life?’, a reference to the political theory of Giorgio Agamben that has informed political theory concerning displacement. Many recent international art works have been engaged with the politically urgent issue of displaced persons. The recent work of Chinese artist Ai Wei Wei, in particular, has addressed the realities of displacement in a series of compelling art installations. The chapter discusses these and other recent art works.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe handbook of displacement
EditorsPeter Adey, Janet C. Bowstead, Katherine Brickell, Vandana Desai, Mike Dolton, Alasdair Pinkerton, Ayesha Siddiqi
Place of PublicationCham, Switzerland
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9783030471781
ISBN (Print)9783030471774
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • displacement
  • art
  • media


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