Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Pier Paolo Calzolari

Arte Povera

Pier Paolo Calzolari 


Monday, 14 November 2016

Quote by Moholy-Nagy

In the following passage, Moholy-Nagy works to posit his own philosophy as separate from a Fordist discourse that sought to anonymise workers to the extent that they became alienated with their labour and with society as a whole. Still embracing elements of mass-production, Moholy-Nagy writes that while everyone cannot be an artist, everyone can still be a creative producer of things and an agent of material and aural expression. In a sense, he foreshadows a debate that would seep the authorial argument and critique of much contemporary art, which relies on the question of who can be an artist? Who is an artist and who gets excluded from this category? 

Furthermore, there is an effort even here to bridge the gap between life and art and to propose a simultaneous engagement with technological advancement that allows for the existence of and life practice engagement with mass-production and the individual with personal skills, emotions and subsequent responses. Rather than try to pedagogically dogmatise one extreme way over another, Moholy-Nagy suggests a harmonious encounter between the two which maintains an importance on individuality in the face of a technologically progressing society. 

Here is Moholy-Nagy:

“Everyone is talented... everyone is equipped by nature to receive and assimilate sensory experiences. Everyone is sensitive to tones and colors, everyone has a sure ‘touch’ and space reactions, and so on. This means that everyone by nature is able to participate in all the pleasures of sensory experience, that any healthy man can become a musician, painter, sculptor, or architect, just as when he speaks, he is ‘a speaker’. That is, he can give form to his reactions in any material (which is not, however, synonymous with ‘art,’ which is the highest level of expression of a period). The truth of this statement is evidenced by actual life: in a perilous situation or in moments of inspiration the conventions and inhabitants of daily routine are broken, and the individual often reaches an unexpected plane of achievement”[1].

[1] Moholy-Nagy, The New Vision, 17.

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Questions raised at Anachronic conference

"The work of art when it is late, when it repeats, when it hesitates, when it remembers, but also when it projects a future or an ideal, is 'anachronic'".

- A. Nagel & C. Wood, Anachronic Renaissance

On the anachronic and anachronisms:

- Can we look at anachronistic engagement in art as positive and fruitful rather than as something that should be avoided?

- Should an intentional anachronistic approach be avoided?

- How does an anachronic approach to art risk dehistoricizing works?

- How might we lose a sense of politics in an artwork if it becomes dehistoricized as a result of an anachronic methodology?

- How do we as art historians inevitably engage in anachronistic practices when trying to reconstruct or rewrite problematic histories?

- In which ways is our understanding of time conventionalised and contracted (linear time leading to an ultimate and inevitable mortality? What can we make of queer, feminist or racial 'times'?

- How might we approach the historicity of objects so that we take into account the changing reception of it throughout different moments in history?

- Liminal time, purgatory

- How do we document that which is fleeting or ephemeral (performance)? And in which ways do these documents keep alive moments passed? How do they in turn become objects with their own histories?

- (How) can we look non-judgmentally at anachronisms as beyond repeating a past iconography? Does this entail a triangulation of unrelated points and instances?

- Synchronicity

- A non-linear approach to time would propose or imagine an infrastructure of simultaneous and multiple stories. What can we say about this storytelling process?

- What is art object and what is a document or non-aesthetic object? How can we define these?

- How do documents presuppose a future audience, thus mangling its relation with time or presenting objects to be received in a future that is separate from the present or past?

- How does a close analysis of media and materials say something about time?

Friday, 11 November 2016

Iwao Yamawaki

Saw these Bauhaus photographs at the Tate Modern the other day...

Untitled (Composition with bricks, Bauhaus) (1930-2)

Bauhaus Student (1930-2)

In Dessau (Modernist architecture) (1930-2)

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Charles Sheeler

Side of a White Barn, Pennsylvania (1917)

Barn Abstraction (1918)

Walter Benjamin quotes: "The Task of the Translator"

Benjamin, Walter. “The Task of the Translator” in Walter Benjamin Selected Writings Volume 1 1913-1926. Ed. Marcus Bullock and Michael W. Jennings. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1996: pp. 253-263.

“Translation is a form. To comprehend it as a form, one must go back to the original, for the laws governing the translation lie within the original, contained in the issue of its translatability. The question of whether a work is translatable has a dual meaning. Either: Will an adequate translator ever be found among the totality of its readers? Or, more pertinently: Does its nature lend itself to translation and, therefore, in view of the significance of this call for it?”[1]

“Translatability is an essential quality of certain works, which is not to say that it is essential for the works themselves that they be translated; it means, rather, that a specific significance inherent in the original manifests itself in its translatability. It is evident that no translation, however good it may be, can have any significance as regards the original. Nonetheless, it does stand in the closest relationship to the original by virtue of the original's translatability; in fact, this connection is all the closer since it is no longer of importance to the original” [2]

“the kinship of languages is brought out by a translation far more profoundly and clearly than in the superficial and indefinable similarity of two works of literature. To grasp the genuine relationship between an original and a translation requires an investigation analogous in its intention to the argument by which a critique of cognition would have to prove the impossibility of a theory of imitation”[3]

[1] Benjamin, “The Task of the Translator”, 254.

[2] Benjamin, “The Task of the Translator”, 254.

[3] Benjamin, “The Task of the Translator”, 256.

Notes on (medieval) manuscripts

- skin as ground
- skin as ground is transparent at times
- book as body (pig, sheep, goat)
- book as body mirrors the bodily representation of Christ
- reading as looking/looking as reading
- manuscript translates from Latin literally as written by hand
- the organisation of quires is highly meticulous; individual pages are not designed, but rather folded pairs
- quires are rebound many times, sometimes in different orders
- size of manuscript dictates function
- personal devotion or meditation or communal reading
- remembering and praying as a repeated activity over function as pedagogy
- axes of books displayed (in hands, on table, tilted up on lectern)
- there exist added notes and asides on the book
- capitals that tell stories 
- narrative of manuscripts as cinematic experience of unfolding events
- experience of manuscripts as temporal 
- multiple scenes occur on the same page
- space in books, space around books
- multiple frames

Hildesheim, Dombibliothek, MS St. Godehard 1 ('St Albans Psalter'), p. 285

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Erica von Scheel ceramics

Discovering these ceramics by Erica Von Scheel today at the L'esprit du Bauhaus exhibition in Paris was a great pleasure! Might be interested in the potential of pursuing ceramics in my scholarship at a later date...

Quote by Rebecca Solnit

"Mushroomed: after rain mushrooms appear on the surface of the earth as if from nowhere. Many do so from a sometimes vast under ground fungus that remains invisible and largely unknown. What we call mushrooms mycologists call the fruiting body of the larger, less visible fungus. Uprisings and revolutions are often considered to be spontaneous, but less visible long-term organising and groundwork - or underground work - often laid the foundation. Changes in ideas and values also result from work done by writers, scholars, public intellectuals, social activists, and participations in social media. It seems insignificant or peripheral until very different outcomes emerge from transformed assumptions about who and what matters, who should be heard and believed, who has rights."

- Rebecca Solnit, Hope in the Dark

Icons of Modern Art: The Shchukin Collection - Fondation Louis Vuitton

Some favourite works from the Paris exhibition, Icons of Modern Art: The Shchukin Collection at the Fondation Louis Vuitton. Here are some images of paintings by Malevich, Picasso, Derain, Rousseau. Overall, a really interesting collection of works that I had previously not seen, despite some great classics such as a Malevich "Black Square" and a Cézanne "Mont Sainte Victoire". Fun to see many different works by Picasso and the progression of his versatile and avant-garde career.

Thursday, 3 November 2016



Interdisciplinary Postgraduate Research Symposium 

November 11, 2016, University of York 

10:15-11:45 Session 1

Gavriella Levy Haskell, Courtauld Institute of Art: Anachronic Love: Edmund Blair Leighton’s Historical Genre Paintings
Germán Molina Ruiz, Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia: Classical Athens in Nineteenth-Century Europe: The Apollonian and Dionysian in the work of Gustave Moreau and Friedrich Nietzsche

Carla Suthren, University of York: ‘Hermione was not so much wrinkled’: Shakespeare’s Anachronic Statue

11:45-12:00 Coffee Break

12:00-1:30 Session 2

Acatia Finbow, University of Exeter: Deconstructing Roberta: exploring the layering of time in Lynn Hershman Leeson’s performance documentation
Tom Hastings, University of Leeds: The Anachronic Scene Twice
Jessica Schouela, University of York: Amédée Ozenfant’s Foundations of Modern Art and the Criminalization of Ornament

1:30-2:30 Lunch

2:3o-4:00 Session 3

Ilaria Grando, University of York: Synchronizing the Anachronic: The Question of Time in Felix Gonzalez-Torres’s “Untitled” (Perfect Lovers), 1991
James Lythgoe, University of York: Anachronisity, Anachronism and Alice
Anna Reynolds, University of York: Wasting Time: Why think about a Fragment of an Almanac?

4:00-4:30 Round Table Discussion, Chair: James Boaden