Transregional Academy
Sa 04 Mai 2024 – So 12 Mai 2024

Contesting Objects: Sites, Narratives, Contexts

Deutsches Forum für Kunstgeschichte Paris (DFK); Bibliotheca Hertziana – Max-Planck-Institut für Kunstgeschichte, Rom; Museo de Arte Lima; Forum Transregionale Studien, Berlin

Museo de Arte Lima

The German Center for Art History (DFK Paris, Max Weber Foundation), the Bibliotheca Hertziana – Max Planck Institute for Art History in Rome (BHMPI), and the Forum Transregionale Studien (Berlin) organize d the 5th Transregional Academy on Art and Culture in Latin America, which will convene at the Museo de Arte de Lima from May 4 to May 12, 2024. The Academy is made possible with support from Getty through its Connecting Art Histories Initiative.

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Viewed from a transregional perspective, the relationship between an object and its discursive embedding is influenced not only by history and institutions but also by culture, society, and the region itself. These interconnections call for a situated research and an interdisciplinary approach so that objects are considered in light of their complex contexts: environment, class, gender, race, economy, religion, academia, museum, etc. The term “objects” includes all expressions of the visual arts; however, viewed through the lens of their objecthood, objects are a stage for exploring transcultural references, negotiations, and impositions, raising important questions for a transregional art history. As in the case of pre-Columbian objects, most artifacts transgress modern conceptual categories of art, showing that received notions of art can be performed, imposed or rejected; in fact, their nomination points to the epistemic violence inherent to every history and instance of instrumentalization (musealization, iconization, scientification, narration etc.). These interwoven layers of possible approaches cannot be studied solely from a regional perspective. They are best analyzed by means of relational studies, using a dialogical approach focusing more on interconnectedness than on comparison. The theme, “Contesting Objects: Sites, Narratives, Contexts”, therefore, promotes a transregional exploration of the material and intellectual foundations of art historical research: How do different notions of art history bring different objects to light? How does art history identify itself through specific objects? How do certain objects challenge art historical discourses, and when do their presence demand interdisciplinary approaches? And most importantly: how can a transregional perspective with an emphasis on Latin America expand the scope of understanding the links between the object and its art histories in different social, cultural and ideological constellations?


Latin America from a Transregional Perspective

The Academy’s prism and location is Latin America from a transregional perspective. Working outward from there, artistic processes of exchange within the American continent will be analyzed from a transregional and transcultural perspective against the backdrop of the concurrent international entanglements and connections. Instead of merely describing and comparing artistic tendencies, the interconnectedness and the multitude of cultural and creative processes and strategies of appropriation, including contradictory modalities of translation and analogy or conflicting, nonlinear transfers, will be discussed. Such a transregional perspective can only be viable if research conducted in or on Latin American countries is brought into dialogue with discussions taking place elsewhere, within an international context, and vice-versa. This relational, dialogical approach forms the foundation of the Academy's methodological framework. In that sense, a historiographical perspective is necessary to gauge the extent to which there can be a common conceptual and epistemological basis. This applies not least to terms such as “translocal,” “transregional,” and “transcultural.”


Contesting objects

Premised on the notion that the question of images also emblematizes important shifts vis-à-vis an art history oriented toward normative concepts of artwork, we ask what the question of objects brings to art history, both in terms of material and intellectual foundations, and especially in view of tangible experiences: How does art history imagine its object and how do objects create different art histories – open or not to transdisciplinary dialogues depending on the diversity of material culture?


Steering Committee

Luisa Elena Alcalá (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, UAM), Lena Bader (DFK Paris), Roberto Conduru (Southern Methodist University), Eduardo Jorge de Oliveira (ETH Zurich), Sharon Lerner (MALI Lima), Natalia Majluf (Independent Art Historian), Mijail Mitrovic (Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú), Tristan Weddigen (BHMPI, Rome)

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