Academic Session 17: UEA 2015

41st Annual Conference & Bookfair
Sainsbury Institute for Art, UEA, Norwich
9 – 11 April 2015

Materialising Modern Identities: Architectural sculpture after 1750

Session Convenors:

Katie Faulkner, The Courtauld Institute of Art, London,
Ayla Lepine, University of Essex,

In recent years, sculpture studies within art and architectural history have grown exponentially, increasingly taking diverse themes into account, including materiality, gender, postcolonialism, and affect. In the rapid transformations of state power and imperial activity in the 18th century, through into the post-revolutionary political atmosphere of the 19th century, nations appeared to sponsor the celebration of the public citizen and actively projected imperial stability in the midst of change and resistance. Despite its association with permanence, sculpture was charged with representing change: materialising new identities and formulating representational traditions. Architectural sculpture, in particular, marked sites of urban modernity, such as stations, cultural institutions, civic landmarks, and sacred structures; these large and prestigious commissions often sparked public debate around identity and artistic production. As the onset and outcomes of the First World War shaped the power and politics of cultural memory, sculpture took centre stage, with new responsibilities amongst global tensions. Interwar architectural sculpture negotiated and articulated increasing anxieties regarding ornament, historicism, modernism, and minimalism. With the arrival of Modernism worldwide, some believed architectural sculpture was anathema. Others looked to it as the vehicle to facilitate and embody vitality in bold new architectural experimentation. Architectural sculpture was a crucible for artistic and wider cultural dialogue concerning modern life and modern subjects.

Max Bryant (St. John’s College Cambridge) ‘The Expressive Index of the Soul’: C.R. Cockerell’s theory and practice of architectural sculpture

David Frazer Lewis (Yale Center for British Art) The Ideal of Architecture as Sculpted Mass during the Interwar Period

Lara Pucci (University of Nottingham) Fascist Fountains

Elena Kashina (The University of York/Independent) The Unity of Opposites: Historicism and modernity in the wooden sculpture at the city council of Oslo

Marin Sullivan (Keene State College) Sculpture Screens and Utopian Visions: Harry Bertoia’s architectural commissions of the 1950s

Rick Bell (Center for Architecture/American Institute of Architects New York) Architectural Sculpture as Cultural Veil