In the first half of the twentieth century, the “truth to materials aesthetics” defended the notion that the materials of art were agents in the artistic process. Since then, the digital revolution and the delegation of artistic production to “fabricators” seem to have relegated materials to the role of passive, interchangeable instruments or to have let them disappear altogether. Recently, however, artists have given a renewed prominence to unexpected materials such as overpainted prehistoric ceramics and melted vinyl records. This lecture will examine works by these (very diverse) artists, such as Ai Weiwei and Dario Robleto, and compare the new meanings they give to materiality with developments in archaeology, popular music, and genetics.
Dario Gamboni is professor of art history at the University of Geneva since 2004. He was a member of the Institut Universitaire de France, Ailsa Mellon Bruce Fellow at CASVA, Washington DC, Meret Oppenheim Prize 2006, Senior Research Fellow at the Henry Moore Institute, and Clark Fellow at the Clark Art Institute, Williamstown. He was also a guest professor at the universities of Strasbourg, Frankfurt, Buenos Aires, Freiburg im Breisgau, Mexico, Sao Paulo, and Tokyo. He has (co)curated exhibitions including Iconoclash (ZKM, Karlsruhe, 2002) and Une image peut en cacher une autre (Grand Palais, Paris, 2009). He has published many books and articles including La plume et le pinceau. Odilon Redon et la littérature (Paris 1989), The Destruction of Art: Iconoclasm and Vandalism since the French Revolution (New Haven/London 1997), and Potential Images: Ambiguity and Indeterminacy in Modern Art (London 2002).
Shukla Sawant is a visual artist and currently an Associate Professor of Visual Studies at the School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Her research interests include Contemporary Art and Art in Colonial India. She has been a Commonwealth Scholar at the University of London and studied at the Ecole Des Beaux Arts Paris. Shukla works with photography, installation, and printmaking and her theoretical interests extend to writing on contemporary art. She has lectured extensively in various institutions and has been actively associated with artists’ initiatives.
This program is organized in association with Pro Helvetia - Swiss Arts Council, New Delhi and supported by Hivos, Deon Foundation, Mondriaan Foundation and Arts Collaboratory.
Admission free and open to all.