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Dresden, 34. Deutscher Kunsthistorikertag and Studio Visit at HfBK

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2017 started with exciting teaching assignments and with the preparations for an exhibition which will open later in May this year (updates to follow). Conjointly, i began working on the translation into German of my Master research, “L´intime à l´oeuvre” (“The Intimacy as Artwork”) – first and foremost as a redraft into the language and culture i live in now, and also as a stimulus to further develop its pivotal idea – the autobiography at the core of the artistic process…

In this context of building up incentives for further research, we drove Friday to Dresden, to the 34. Deutscher Kunsthistorikertag, a biennial event organised by the Verband Deutscher Kunsthistoriker e.V. The co-partner of the event this year, having as topic global art vs. local art, was the Institut für Kunst und Musikwissenschaft of the Technischen Universität Dresden. The Kunsthistorikertag lasted from 8th to 12th of March and had numerous art historians guests with various backgrounds and very engaging talks. As the introduction word conveys, this year´s event had a spotlight on the present-day political aspects. Obviously, the art history is, malgré tout, about the position of the Images and these days in a more straightforward way it is about the politics of the Images.

In the words of the organizers:

“It is the abundance and the frequency of this images, along with their mass-media processing, that are emotionally impacting and affecting us, just as well as they irritate and make us skeptical. The present-day political context shows us even more, in our global world, how profoundly, the interlinking between politics, culture and science works and how strong the consequences and shocks can be felt, as well at a local level.”

(Transl. from original text/German.)

How does today the notion of identity change within this process of cultural transformations and how can it be defined in the context of a diverse society marked by divergent religious and political models? – Was the challenge question that brought the lecturers together with debates from different perspectives.

We opted for the day with the lectures focused on the “Identity of The Islamic Art and Architecture After 1798” and we´ve witnessed a few very engaged and engaging talks, as for instance on the relatively new research field of the Islamic cultural heritage in the Balkans, followed by an enthusiastic prologue to the “Skopje 2014 Project” and a compact, substantial talk on the urban planning in Kuweit City after 1945.

Later that evening was the closing party at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste (HfBK) and we´ve pondered for a while whether going or not. The eventuality of joining in a stiff cocktail reception was not exactly in tune with my cogitating mind. We decided to go out for dinner and just out of sheer curiosity to check at the HfBK if the ateliers were open to the public. I couldn´t have been more wrong about the hypothetical stiffness and could not have felt more gratified for deciding to go inside the university. The ateliers were open to the public for the entire evening / night (a brilliant and sensible idea for a closing party hosted by HfBK). It was a gratifying and unexpected flashback into the golden days of experimenting. We´ve wandered around between the Graphic and Painting departments with their respective studios packed with students, attending friendly their spaces with “that” gaze of poised confidence, an unsullied form of idealized trust towards their métier that only one that has already experimented such quixotic, incurable, impractical passion for her/his trade can pick up the vibe.

I asked the authors if i may photograph and clicked now and then on my camera, while avoiding to chase and decontextualize the object from its system. The whole film was to be experienced then and there: yet what i would´ve loved to capture unobtrusively was that acute state-of-the-art sense, that cuts beyond art history and theories, the one that urged the students into assembling their in situ, micro installation out of working wear, private items and statement objects.

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2 thoughts on “Dresden, 34. Deutscher Kunsthistorikertag and Studio Visit at HfBK”

  1. I was cheered by this visit. It reminded me that there are people quietly (or even noisily) continuing to push the boundaries of their world and their minds, whatever the depressing chaos of the political world. The independence and curiosity of artists are essential qualities for the future of humanity and the planet.

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  2. Couldn´t be happier reading your words – a boost also to my energies! It was precious to experience the unfeigned, open, young vibe, it made me come back home and face the daily dose of absurd with a feeling very close to what we call ´optimism´. Agreed, there are moments when it feels very strongly, that our species has what it takes not to fail…

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