The Routes of Modernism. Artistic mobility, protagonists, platforms, networks

Simone Wille's picture
November 23, 2018 to November 24, 2018
Subject Fields: 
Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Colonial and Post-Colonial History / Studies, Cultural History / Studies, Film and Film History, South Asian History / Studies

The Routes of Modernism
Artistic mobility, protagonists, platforms, networks

Recent art historical research has increasingly paid attention to the importance of artists’ transcultural itineraries regarding a postnational and postcolonial understanding of art history. It has been demonstrated how migration, contact, travel and displacement have been essential for the emergence of multiple modernisms, composite identities and hybrid aesthetics. This conference highlights modes of artistic exchange between European and non-European centres of modern art in the twentieth century that have been established against the backdrop of decolonisation movements. Speakers at the conference reflect on the cross-cultural connections of artistic ventures, situating them in both regional and transnational art historical writing.
The significance of artistic mobility and the dimensions of cultural transfer take shape when the tracks of hitherto marginalised protagonists are traced and put in relation to each other. This is how the nature of networks, routes, zones and passages can be reconsidered in order to renegotiate the cultural plurality of modernism. Taking a close look at transcultural contacts at the crossroads of regionally grounded modernisms may contribute to an unmasking of the colonialist interpretation of modernism as white and Western.
In contrast to claims that celebrate globalisation of art since the end of the Cold War, this conference is concerned with global modernisms of the early and mid-twentieth century that are still often ignored. To discuss their movements, routes and platforms—such as magazines, exhibitions and schools—allows for the dismantling of a monocultural conception of modernism and facilitates a better understanding of the development of artistic centres in Asia, Africa and the Americas.

Friday, November 23, 
Academy of Fine Arts, Aula
Augasse 2-6, First floor, 1090 Vienna 

11.00    Welcome: Rector Eva Blimlinger
Introduction: Christian Kravagna 

11.30    Sanjukta Sunderason: Drawing Histories: Visual Rhetorics of Freedom in Lotus

12.15    Devika Singh: The Outstretched Hand of Humanity: Towards an Interpretation of Transmodernism in India
Q&A moderated by Simone Wille

13.00 – 14.30 Lunchbreak

14.30    Ahu Antmen: “As if Paris never had a greater artist...”: André Lhote and Turkish Modernism 
15.15    Mehri Khalil: Cairo, Paris, and Beyond: The Networks that Shaped Modern Egyptian Art
Q&A moderated by Noit Banai

16.00 – 16.15 Coffee break

16.15    Simone Wille: St. Margarethen and the potentiality of trans-national postwar sculpture: Opening pathways for a radically new artistic subjectivity
Q&A moderated by Christian Kravagna

17:00    Wine & Bred

Saturday, November 24,
mumok cinema
Museumsquartier, 1070 Vienna

15:00    Welcome: Matthias Michalka
Introduction: Simone Wille

15:30    Maurita Poole: Hale Woodruff and the Southland
16:15¬    Christian Kravagna: The Art of Liberation: Viktor Löwenfeld and African American Modernism
    Q&A moderated by Eva Kernbauer

17:00–17:30 Coffee break

17:30     Gabriele Genge and Angela Stercken: Frank Bowling in Dakar 1966: Framings of an (im-) possible artistic exchange
    Q&A moderated by Eva Kernbauer and Christian Kravagna

18:15–18:45 Break/Snacks

18:45–20:00 Marta Edith Holečková and Tereza Stejskalová:
    Forgotten Internationalism: Cultural Difference in 1960s Czechoslovak Film
    Film screening and conversation

Main organizer: Academy of Fine Arts Vienna

In collaboration with: mumok; University of Innsbruck; The Austrian Science Fund (FWF); Vienna Art Week 2018:

Concept: Christian Kravagna, Simone Wille

Organization: Shabnam Chamani, Konstanze Horak, Naoko Kaltschmidt, Christian Kravagna, Matthias Michalka, Dunja Reithner, Simone Wille

Contact Email: