CALL FOR PAPERS: Interdependences – Arts and Artistic Techniques 1430-1550, Conference of the Faculty of Art History, Institut für Kunstwissenschaft und Historische Urbanistik at the Technische Universität Berlin, 9 – 10 December 2011.
Materials and techniques are more than “coefficients of friction within the total product”, to which Alois Riegl once wished to degrade them. They have, on the contrary, permanently influenced the history of the arts. Technical innovations have not only permitted new processes in the creation of art, but have continuously opened up new possibilities of design. At the same time they have had knock-on effects on other techniques, media and genres of art – e.g. the role that copper engravings in the fifteenth century had for woodcuts and painting or the model role that sculpture assumed for the development and formulation of the gravure process. A project on the history of artistic techniques at the Institut für Kunstwissenschaft und Historische Urbanistik at the Technische Universität Berlin is specifically dedicated to the study of interdependencies of this kind. Its aim is to analyse parallel phenomena in the genres of the figurative arts through the centuries, to consider the innovative potential of different processes and inquire into their importance for transformations in style, iconography and function.
The project opens with a conference that first approaches the question for the period between 1430 and 1550, i.e. the period in which differences between artistic concepts and their practical execution first became perceptible. So, on the one hand, there were experiments with new materials and processes, such as the increasing use of oil as a binder in pigments, the introduction and further development of printing processes in the graphic arts, or the further development of large-scale cire perdue casting in bronze. And on the other, there were theoretical models that systematically demanded a dematerialization of art and that therefore promoted the marginalization, or depreciation, of its handicraft and technical aspects. The symposium aims to elucidate this tension between theory and practice, to analyze the role of artistic techniques and to pose questions about the relation between technical and artistic innovations: How do technical innovations influence established forms of artistic creation – within the individual genres, but also in ways that transcend them? What new visual experiences do they make possible, what new aesthetic standards do they put in place? What capacities for adaptation do they demand of artists? What role is played by the idea of progress – is it overtly embraced in the work of art or is it concealed? How are new processes reflected? What repercussion do they have in the literature of artistic theory?
The conference will be held on Friday, 9 December and Saturday, 10 December 2011 in the rooms of the Faculty of Art History, Institut für Kunstwissenschaft und historische Urbanistik, Technische Universität Berlin, Straße des 17 Juni 150/152, 10 623 Berlin.
Proposals (not exceeding a maximum of 2500 characters) are invited and should be sent to Prof. Dr. Magdalena Bushart. Deadline: 15 June 2011.