Academic Session 28: Loughborough 2017

43rd Annual Conference & Art Book Fair
Loughborough University
6th to 8th April 2017
Sculpture in Motion


Martina Droth, Yale Center for British Art,
Sarah Victoria Turner, Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art,

Sculpture is generally static. It tends to be thought of as solid, inert, and physically grounded. These qualities are deeply associated with some of its most traditional functions – to commemorate, memorialize, and provide permanent public symbols. But throughout its history, sculpture’s immobility has been held in tension with the fantasy of its potential motion and animation. This tension plays out in the dualities of its association with life and death. The potential of the statue coming to life, as in the Pygmalion myth, has been a constant reference point for sculpture and how it is written about.

This interdisciplinary session examines the various ways in which sculpture has been put in motion, literally and metaphorically, and considers what drives this desire to animate sculpture. Areas of investigation include the devices and artistic strategies that induce motion or an illusion of life – for example, turning statues on rotating pedestals; viewing statues by candlelight; the tinting and colouring of sculpture to create life-like effects; sophisticated technologies and mechanical devices such as animatronics, automata, and kinetics; the ‘living statue’ and the tableau vivant; bringing sculpture to life in text; the suggestion of movement in photographs of sculpture; the appearance of sculpture in film. The papers in this session range from the medieval period to the early 20th century.

Click here to download a .pdf of this session's paper abstracts

Emily Knight (University of Oxford) Death Masks: Casting and reanimating the dead

Johanna Roethe (The Architectural History Practice) ‘Nought but perfect breathing art’: Dannecker’s Ariadne animated

Linda Hinners (Nationalmuseum, Stockholm) Torches and Torsos: Experiencing sculpture in artificial light – some Swedish examples from around 1800

Nicola Jennings (Courtauld Institute of Art) Carrying Christ, Conversion and Control in Early Modern Spain

Jane Wildgoose (King’s College London) ‘The effect of it will long be remembered by the multitudes’: The Duke of Wellington’s Funeral Car - in Motion, and at Rest

Damian Taylor (University of Oxford) Medardo Rosso and the Printed Page as a Site of Sculptures’ permanent becoming

Tess Korobkin (Yale University) Augusta Savage’s Living Sculptures: Photographic and cinematic portrayals, 1929-1939

Sharon Hecker (Independent Scholar) Moving Ahead: Walking and the birth of modern sculpture