Enfilade

Call for Papers | AAH at the University of East Anglia, 2015

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on September 23, 2014

By my hasty count, 11 of the 34 sessions proposed for the Association of Art Historians 2015 conference could include eighteenth-century papers. Be sure to consult the conference website for things I’ve overlooked. CH

41st Annual AAH Conference and Bookfair
Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts (SCVA), University of East Anglia, Norwich, 9–11 April 2015

Proposals due by 10 November 2014

The AAH 2015 conference and bookfair will be located in the famous Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts (SCVA), designed by Norman Foster and a finalist for the museum of the year. It holds a fascinating collection of work and hosts a range of exhibitions. SCVA is part of the University of East Anglia (UEA) and situated on the UEA campus. The conference will start on Thursday 9 April at various venues in Norwich city centre, and then remain at SCVA for Friday and Saturday.  The SCVA building will be the main hub of the event, in which registration, refreshments and sessions take place.

Founded in 1965, the Department of Art History and World Art Studies is a member of the Sainsbury Institute for Art at the University of East Anglia. The Department has become known for its commitment to geographical and historical inclusivity, and to collaborative and cross-disciplinary scholarship.

This international conference aims to showcase new research in histories and theories of visual art forms and media, of any period and type (including architecture and design). Academic sessions will engage with current scholarship, and foster discussion and debate, on any aspect of the visual arts from prehistory, Antiquity, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the early modern and modern periods, through to the present day.

Academic Sessions  Proposals due by Monday, 10 November 2014
If you would like to offer a paper, please email the session convenor(s) direct, providing an abstract of a proposed paper of 30 minutes. Your paper abstract should be no more than 250 words, and include your name and institution affiliation (if any). You should receive an acknowledgement of receipt of your submission within two weeks from the session convenor(s).

Bookfair 2015 will take place on Friday 10 and Saturday 11 April alongside the conference in the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, on the University of East Anglia campus in Norwich.

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

Session 3 | The Art History of Architectural History
Session Convenors: Mark Crinson, University of Manchester, mark.crinson@manchester.ac.uk; and Richard Williams, University of Edinburgh, r.j.williams@ed.ac.uk

Art history and architectural history are sister disciplines… or are they? How many art history departments regard architectural history as a core component of their provision? What might art history students miss if architectural history were not part of their curricula? Perhaps art objects and architectural objects are so radically different their study cannot be shared. Or perhaps there are modes of enquiry that can be developed to mutual benefit.

This session reviews the art history/architectural history relationship in several ways. One way is to excavate those moments when art and architectural history were tightly bound together: in the very formation of art history as a discipline, for example, when both art and architecture were natural objects of study.

Other ways might be: investigations of the parallel developments of formalism in art and architectural history; of architectural history’s relation to the ‘new art history’; of the ways in which architectural history might adopt recent developments in object studies, global art history, and art writing.

Academics dealing with contemporary architecture find themselves wrestling with debates that in other disciplines may be more abstract or indirect: How does money or power represent itself in visual form? How does the general public (whoever they may be) understand form? How does government use aesthetics to communicate? All of these things are, and always have been, live in architecture. Perhaps this might be part of a case for making architectural history more central to art history. If so, what implications would it have for our curricula and our pedagogy?

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

Session 6 | British Art through Its Exhibition Histories, 1760 to Now
Session Convenors: Mark Hallett, Sarah Victoria Turner, and Martina Droth, The Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, London and the Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, svturner@paul-mellon-centre.ac.uk

How have histories of British art been shaped, defined and contested by and through exhibitions? Taking a broad historical perspective, and responding to an upsurge of interest in the study of exhibition histories in recent years, this session will explore the varied exhibition cultures of British art from 1760—the year that saw the first annual exhibition of contemporary British painting, sculpture and printmaking—through to today.

This session does not seek to offer a chronological history of exhibitions but rather a series of critical propositions that take exhibitions and exhibition culture as a lens through which to examine the history, presentation, marketing and reception of British art, both in the UK and internationally. How have exhibitions shaped or disputed the artistic canon, defined particular artistic groupings, or articulated distinctive histories of British art? How have they contributed to new kinds of critical and art-historical writing about British painting, sculpture, graphic and multi-media arts?

We welcome proposals that explore exhibitions of British art in a variety of contexts, at either a national or international level, including: case studies of individual exhibitions or series of displays; monographic or thematic exhibitions; the phenomenon of travelling exhibitions, both historically and today; exhibitions in public, private and commercial spaces.

Papers might examine the role of agencies, institutions and funding bodies; exhibitions as a tool for shaping a canon; exhibitions and changing notions of ‘Britishness’; the display of British art and artists in different international contexts. We seek papers that will interrogate and analyse the dynamic, transformative and sometimes challenging relationship of British art to its exhibition histories across different periods.

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

Session 13 | Flow in World Art, 1500–1750
Session Convenor: Margit Thøfner, University of East Anglia, m.thofner@uea.ac.uk

This session considers the notion of flow in the early modern period in the broadest possible terms. During this time, most parts of the globe became connected by shipping lanes. The already steady trickle of people, objects and ideas across the continents and oceans became a full flow. That waterways could both conjoin and divide was evident in a manner that it had never been before. At the same time, liquids such as sap, mercury, lava, semen, milk and blood came under intense interrogation, in moral, political, theological and scientific terms.

What consequences did this fascination with fluidity have for the arts? Depicting flow is of necessity an act of fixing runniness. Liquids may work as boundaries but, at the same time, they are boundless. How did early modern artists and artisans address this paradox? How did they show fluidity, whether of persons, ideas or substances?

The aim of this session is to consider, compare and contrast how image-makers from across the world tackled such problems. Our ultimate goal is to determine whether, how and why the concept of flow changed visually under the manifold pressures of early colonialism. We welcome contributions focused anywhere in the world within the given dates and we are particularly interested in examples where two or more pictorial or artefactual traditions are brought together. We hope to publish selected papers from this session in a dedicated issue of the journal World Art.

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

Session 14 | From Distaste to Mockery: The City and Its Architectures Ridiculed
Session Convenor: Michela Rosso, Politecnico di Torino, michela.rosso@polito.it

Since the origins of the contemporary age, the rise of a mass public and a reconfigured public sphere, along with the diffusion of the popular press, have deeply affected the way in which the city and its architectures are interpreted and judged. Among the genres addressing the modern city, some emerge that seem to be highly effective in disseminating the architectural culture, displaying its distortions or singling out its vulnerable features through the deployment of humour. As part of a media-saturated public culture, humour is both a practice of social communication and a plausible portrayal of society, illuminating the ambivalences of modern life and uncovering the shock provoked by processes of modernisation.

This session’s aim is to inaugurate a catalogue of the comic as applied to the spatial criticism of the city, its artefacts and its leading professionals—architects, artists and builders. Punch’s sharp satire of the first World Exhibition, William H Robinson’s caricatures of modernist housing, Tati’s parody of the Corbusian villa, and Dunn’s architecturally situated cartoons for The New Yorker are some of the renowned entries in this possible catalogue. By absorbing the disturbing effects of modernisation and turning them into laughter, they give voice to a diverse range of feelings and social reactions, from distaste to overt dissent.

This session invites case studies that explore the reception of architectural facts through the distinct codes of humour, verbal as well as visual, in any place and time, between 1750 and today, and focusing on any medium from literature to cinema, television and cartoons.

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

Sesison 17 | Materialising Modern Identities: Architectural Sculpture after 1750
Session Convenors: Katie Faulkner, The Courtauld Institute of Art, London, katie.r.faulkner@gmail.com; and Ayla Lepine, University of Essex, ayla.lepine@gmail.com

In recent years, sculpture studies within art and architectural history have grown exponentially, increasingly taking diverse themes into account including materiality, gender, postcolonialism and affect. In the rapid transformations of state power and imperial activity in the 18th century, through into the post-revolutionary political atmosphere of the 19th century, nations appeared to sponsor the celebration of the public citizen and actively projected imperial stability in the midst of change and resistance. Despite its association with permanence, sculpture was charged with representing change: materialising new identities and formulating representational traditions.

Architectural sculpture in particular marked sites of urban modernity, such as stations, cultural institutions, civic landmarks and sacred structures; these large and prestigious commissions often sparked public debate around identity and artistic production. As the onset and outcomes of the First World War shaped the power and politics of cultural memory, sculpture took centre stage, with new responsibilities amongst global tensions. Interwar architectural sculpture negotiated and articulated increasing anxieties regarding ornament, historicism, modernism and minimalism. With the arrival of modernism worldwide, some believed architectural sculpture was anathema. Others looked to it as the vehicle to facilitate and embody vitality in bold new architectural experimentation. Architectural sculpture was a crucible for artistic and wider cultural dialogue concerning modern life and modern subjects.

We invite proposals for papers that explore architectural sculpture and identity in a global context between 1750 and the present. Potential themes include: collaboration and networks between architects and sculptors; materiality, production and reproduction; modernism and tradition; beauty and ugliness; figuration and abstraction; style and historicism; form, function and ornament; spectacle and the everyday; memory and ritual; nationhood and transnationalism; and empire and its afterlives.

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

Session 22 | Navigating the Pacific: Latin America and Asia in Conversation
Session Convenors: Kathryn Santner and Paul Merchant, St. John’s College, University of Cambridge, kathryn.santner@gmail.com and pm437@cam.ac.uk

The critical role of Asia in the history of Latin American art has often been overlooked; recent scholarship has, however, begun to reassess this longstanding cultural engagement. This session will examine the significance of Asia–Latin America exchange from its earliest days via the Manila Galleon and Portuguese trade networks through to the present day.

Iberian trade brought luxury goods—porcelain, lacquerware, folding screens, ivories, and inlaid furniture—to the Americas, where they were adapted and incorporated into local artistic practice, spawning new art forms like the biombo. The decline of the galleon trade after 1815 did not mark the end of this transpacific relationship; ensuing centuries brought successive waves of Asian immigrants to Latin America – notably the Chinese to Peru and the Japanese to Brazil.

In the wake of this diaspora, artists have recently begun to explore Asian identity in Latin America, notably in several successful documentary and fiction film productions from the region. The presence, for the first time, of a Latin American pavilion at the Beijing Art Expo 2013 also points to the increasing recognition of a centuries-old dialogue in the visual arts. So too does the ‘Latin American Artists in Asia’ network, whose members practise in fields from sculpture to photography and digital art. This session will cover a broad historical period, and adopt a variety of methodological approaches. Key issues to be considered include (post) national identity, materiality and its relationship to place, and the opportunities and complications offered by digital technologies.

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

Session 23 | Petits-maîtres: ‘Minor’ Genres and Their Meanings in Post-Revolutionary France
Session Convenor: Richard Taws, University College London, r.taws@ucl.ac.uk

While studies of French art of the late 18th and early 19th centuries have historically tended to privilege the work of a few prominent artists, increased attention has been paid more recently to artists working in less prestigious genres, in other media, and to those who helped disseminate their work. This session focuses on, among others, the genre painters and miniaturists, flower and animal painters, landscapists and portraitists, and printmakers of all types who were active in France from the beginning of the French Revolution through to the end of the July Monarchy.

In the aftermath of the Revolution, a diverse range of artists working in ‘minor’ genres negotiated the shifting parameters of artistic practice, documenting (some more explicitly than others) a modern world subject to rapid social and political change. Meanwhile, new venues for the display and dissemination of art, alongside technical innovations in printmaking, created novel opportunities for reproductive image-makers and publishers. Consequently, this session also welcomes papers that address the implications of the circulation, sale and display of prints by, and after, so-called petits-maîtres, the lives of images in reproduction, and the practices of replication, remediation and recontextualisation to which they were subject.

How did the new political, social and commercial circumstances of early 19th-century France enable or constrain artistic practices of this kind, and how might they be understood in terms of evolving hierarchies of class or gender? How did art made during this period relate to other techniques, institutions, spectacles, careers, audiences or social practices?

While this session encourages papers that focus closely on lesser-known artists or works, it is also hoped that speakers will take the opportunity to situate their subjects imaginatively within broader tendencies in early 19th-century visual culture.

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

Session 24 | Portraiture and the Unworthy Subject in the Early Modern World
Session Convenor: Carmen Fracchia, Birkbeck, University of London, c.fracchia@bbk.ac.uk

In the early modern period, the production of portraiture was governed by restrictive conventions. According to the first European treatise on portraiture since antiquity (Francisco de Holanda’s Do tirar polo natural [On Taking Portraits from Life], 1548), the essence of the genre was the worthy sitter’s moral or intellectual prestige. Thus, the main function of the portrait image was to immortalise the worthy elite, with the implicit moral understanding that there could be no room for the portrayal of the unworthy subject. What are the political and visual implications of this belief about portraiture? What are the notions of human diversity that prevent the portrayal of undeserving subjects? How are these concepts negotiated in the production of the portrait image outside Europe?

This session aims to build on research by historians of art, literature and the colonial world, and work on slave narratives that illuminate the paradoxical nature of ‘slave portraits’ in the Atlantic World. It intends to explore a wider spectrum of what were considered ‘unworthy subjects’, and the complexity of the mutually exclusive categories of ‘portraiture’ and ‘undeserving subject’. It also seeks to tackle the oxymoronic categories of ‘self-portraiture’ and ‘unworthy subject’, and investigate how notions of human diversity might challenge the boundaries of traditional portraiture and self-portraiture.

Contributions are invited that address the portrayal of ‘undeserving people’ across different media and cultures in the early modern world, as well as the historical context of social inferiority and the ‘undeserving’ between the 15th and the 18th centuries.

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

Session 28 | Surface Affects and Shiny Things: Bringing Meaning to Light
Session Convenors: Nic Maffei, Victoria Mitchell and Marcia Pointon, Norwich University of the Arts n.maffei@nua.ac.uk, v.mitchell@nua.ac.uk and m.r.pointon@manchester.ac.uk

The visual qualities of a surface that shines are such as to attract or distract the eyes, which themselves are often attributed with gleaming, shining or glinting. The silkiness of high polish invites tactile attention too, or deters for fear of spoiling. Shine may materialise through use or careful positioning of an object. It is often not inherent in a material but may be derived from working up a shine. Within art, design and architecture, materials (metal, plastic, glass, fabric, wood, paint) and processes, often labour-intensive (polishing, burnishing, glazing), can combine to reveal shine. The manifestations of shininess can imply bodies in motion and individual subjectivity, while the gloss of film or magazines points to a more socially pervasive ‘look’. Although dependent on specular-reflective properties of light and absorbency of materials, reflective patina or sheen is often intentionally sought, in order to generate affect or effect.

This session addresses the cultural, historical, critical and often paradoxical meanings of ‘shine’ as this pertains to the making, using or viewing of objects and surfaces. Depending on context, shininess might suggest religious or poetic allusion, sensory engagement, luminosity, spectacle, desire, cheapness, cleanliness, protection, health, wealth and perhaps also disgust (as in the surface of slime). Shininess was held in high regard in Byzantine and Anglo-Saxon art, as also for many designers of the mid-20th century. Spurred on by fashion, the superficial nature of shininess has been linked to postmodern theory on late-capitalism. We seek papers that engage with such issues in relation to any period, reflecting a range of practices and perspectives.

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

Session 29 | Things and Their Ideas: Exchanges in the Visual and Material Cultures of Islamicate Asia
Session Convenors: Sussan Babaie, The Courtauld Institute of Art, sussan.babaie@courtauld.ac.uk; and
Elizabeth Lambourn, De Montfort University, Leicester, elambourn@dmu.ac.uk

In recent decades, the theoretical turn to cross-culturality has produced important reflections on the global in art history. A persistent feature of such trans-regional explorations remains nevertheless rooted in networks that implicate Europe in some prominent way: the Mediterranean exchanges are invariably about Europe and the Muslim cultures, the European interests in chinoiserie that skip the vast inter-Asian land and water routes of exchange, or post-colonial interests that reflect, in the end, more on the European colonist than on the Asian colonised.

This session takes the global from the vantage point of the centrality of the Asian nexus in producing its principal vectors in pre-colonial times. It invites innovative approaches that focus on the specificities of, and excavate deeply into, isolated ‘things’ or a cluster of desirable things. It asks for trans-disciplinary reflections on the mechanisms of exchange and transmission of ideas, through art and material culture, in between the local histories and global networks across regions where Islamic cultural modes were dominant or influential, throughout the Asian landmass. Collecting or commissioning of cut precious stones, of album and manuscript paintings, of embroidered textiles and inlaid objects, of garden designs and tomb edifices, and the collection and circulation of animalia; with such topics, we hope the papers in this session will bring fullness to our understanding of things as a way to access their global implications through an Islamicate Asian lens.

 ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

Session 30 | Thinking Images
Session Convenors: Hanneke Grootenboer, Anita Paz and Lucy Whelan, University of Oxford, lucy.whelan@trinity.ox.ac.uk

This session explores the rising interest in art as a mode of thinking, apparent in academic writing as well as artistic practice. Images have long been seen as thought-provoking or as tools for contemplation. However, recent years have revealed a shift towards giving art works agency to think. Cézanne and Klee famously declared that they thought through painting, while Jean-Luc Godard claimed cinema as a mode of thinking. More recently, Jacques Rancière declared photography as thoughtful, while Ron Burnett’s How Images Think links the digital image’s thinking power to the technology from which it derives.

This session will examine how images might be capable of thinking. Questions to be pursued include: By what mechanisms do images think? What visual language do they use or create? How do they shape thought? How is a mode of thought specific to a particular medium—film (stills), installation art, sculpture—or a particular culture—Chinese Ming painting, Buddhist imagery? What are the political implications of ascribing thought processes to visual materials? This session intends to establish a genealogy of the thinking image, and encourages papers addressing these and related questions through a variety of approaches, media and ideas.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s