Altermodern is a term coined by curator Nicolas Bourriaud in 2009, to describe art made as a reaction against standardisation and commercialism, in the context of globalisation

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  • Mike Nelson, 'The Coral Reef' 2000
    Mike Nelson
    The Coral Reef 2000
    Mixed media installation of 15 interconnecting spaces with sourced, found and adapted objects
    Overall display dimensions variable
    Presented by Tate Members 2008© Mike Nelson, courtesy Matt's Gallery, London
  • Bob and Roberta Smith, 'Make Art Not War' 1997
    Bob and Roberta Smith
    Make Art Not War 1997
    Paint on plywood board
    support: 1537 x 1524 x 48 mm
    Presented by Tate Patrons 2007© Bob and Roberta Smith
  • Gustav Metzger, 'Liquid Crystal Environment' 1965, remade 2005
    Gustav Metzger
    Liquid Crystal Environment 1965, remade 2005
    Five modified slide projectors, liquid crystals, 35mm slides, Polaroid filter and computerised control
    duration: 22 min
    overall display dimensions variable
    Purchased 2006© Gustav Metzger

The term was coined by Nicolas Bourriaud on on the occasion of the Tate Triennial in 2009.

Altermodern is against cultural standardisation and massification, but also opposed to nationalisms and cultural relativism. Altermodern artists position themselves within the world’s cultural gaps. Cultural translation, mental nomadism and format crossing are the main principles of altermodern art.

Viewing time as a multiplicity rather than as a linear progress, the altermodern artist navigates history as well as all the planetary time zones producing links between signs faraway from each other. Altermodern is ‘docufictional’ in that it explores the past and the present to create original paths where boundaries between fiction and documentary are blurred.

Formally speaking, it favours processes and dynamic forms to one-dimensional single objects and trajectories to static masses.