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Imponderable: The Archives of Tony Oursler
Whitewall Magazine

by Kelsey Miranda

Tony Oursler’s “Imponderable” is currently on view at Les Recontres d’Arles 2015 (now through September 20). The exhibition includes an installation, 4D film, and 600-page publication of pictures, texts, and unique objects. It is the result of an extensive research project that revolves around Oursler’s personal and family archives, curated by Bard College CCS director, Tom Eccles, and director of Stedijik Museum in Amsterdam, Beatrix Ruf.


“Imponderable” tracks the social, spiritual, and intellectual history of Oursler’s grandfather, Fulton Oursler, who during the 1920s spent his career disproving the existence of psychics and paranormal events. Inspired by the photographs given to his grandfather from Harry Houdini, Oursler started collecting objects related to magic, paranormal, film, pseudoscience and technology in the 1990s. The exhibition and film focus on the conflicting and overlapping belief systems of magic and paranormal activity.

“Imponderable” is the eighth major product commissioned and produced by the LUMA’s Arles. LUMA is a nonprofit organization that was established in 2004 to support activities and pioneers of art, photography, publishing, documentary, and multimedia. Previous exhibitions included from artists like Frank Genry, Wolfgang Tillman, and Doug Aikin. The primary concern of LUMA is to investigate new possibilities for archives and artistic production. “Imponderable” makes a lovely addition to LUMA’s mission.