Academic Session 5: UEA 2015

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

Avant-Gardes and Wars

Session Convenors:

Lynda Morris, Krzysztof Fijalkowski and Alisa Miller, Norwich University of the Arts,

Ever since the term was first borrowed from its original military context, avant-garde artists have consistently produced work in reaction to their experience of war. Since the late 19th century, diverse groups of artists can be linked as an avant-garde, not through the formalist style of their work but through their response to the violence engendered by apparently never-ending global conflicts.

The politicisation of artists, manifest in their anti-war work since the late 19th century, has been the subject of a number of recent art historical studies. Our lives continue to be overshadowed by the politically driven wars of the present day, and the ethical and philosophical problems of artists’ responses to war continue to influence both art and art history.

Papers in this session consider how the politicisation of avant-garde artists and their work provides a context for experimental modes of production and distribution between the early 20th century and today; critical engagement with the division of Europe after World War II and the ideological conflicts of the Cold War through to 1989; and international artistic responses to philosophic writings engaged with the moral and ethical implications of war. While papers will focus primarily on the art of the modernist avant-garde, longer historical perspectives giving more formally complex ideas of artistic political avant-gardes will also be incorporated into presentations and discussions.

Deborah Ascher Barnstone (University of Technology, Sydney) Bruno Taut and the Art of Resistance

Lesley Thornton-Cronin (University of Glasgow) Joan Miró’s ‘Savage Paintings’: The parodic landscape and the Bienio Negro

Jelena Stojkovi? (London College of Communication, University of the Arts London) Photographic Plasticity: Surrealism and abstraction in Japan prior to the Pacific War (1939–40)

Daniel Neofetou
(Goldsmiths College, University of London) Extremely Impure Ends: Clement Greenberg and imperialism

Lindsay Blair (University of the Highlands and Islands) Wartime and Violence Re-enacted: Psycho-cyclical exorcisms and the transfiguration of memory in the experimental films of Daniel Reeves

Nicola Simpson (Norwich University of the Arts) Emptiness and the Bomb: Destroying and creating concepts of nothing

Devika Singh (University of Cambridge) Responding to the Bangladesh War: Indian Avant-Garde artists and the experience of conflict in South Asia

David Murriata (University of Essex) A War Waged from the Shadows: King Mob and Black Mask