Tracking Frank Stella - Registering viewing profiles with eye-tracking

Photo: Stefanie De Winter
Photo: Stefanie De Winter

Tracking Frank Stella Registering viewing profiles with eye-tracking

09/02/2019 - 07/04/2019
looking at art through eye-tracking 

In February 2019 a special scientific experiment will be carried out in the Van Abbemuseum based on the work of the artist Frank Stella. The experience of looking at Stella’s work can be examined with the use of eye-tracking glasses so that a broad interpretation of the exhibited works will be tested. Stella concisely summarized the direct character of his work in his famous statement: “What you see, is what you see.” This literal approach was considered for a long time to be one of the distinctive characteristics of modern Western art, an art form which tried to reduce the work of art to its essence by no longer including any references to anything that is not there. A painting is not a “window”, but purely an object. The modern artist sought to emphasize this “purity”.


A number of researchers at the Catholic University of Leuven will carry out a large-scale study of the practice in collaboration with the Van Abbemuseum in which they will examine the viewing profiles of visitors to the exhibition. This time the general public can literally take a look into the kitchen of this scientific art history study. The experiment will take place between 12 February and 3 March 2019. You can apply to take part in the experiment by emailing It’s also possible to come and look at the experiment later from 5 March to 7 April.


At this stage we cannot say any more about the final approach and purpose of the study because this would have too much influence on it. Therefore a symposium will be organized on March 10, 2019 in which we will provide more of an explanation and a first impression of the research results. Use this link for information and to sign up.

To participate, you must be 18 years or over; having normal or corrected-to-normal vision; no color blindness.

Tracking Frank Stella consists of :


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