Action Art, Performance, Dance, Cinema and Plastic and Visual Arts
5 – 7 September 2013
University College Cork, Ireland
Confirmed guest speakers and artists:
Pilar Parcerisas art critic, curator and scriptwriter. Executive Board Member of the Consell Nacional de la Cultura i les Arts (CoNCA)
Marcel·lí Antúnez performance artist
Eulàlia Valldosera visual artist
Pere Salabert Chair of Aesthetics and Art Theory, Universitat de Barcelona
While the representation of the human body has been a recurrent motif in visual art across cultures and civilizations over the centuries, the study of corporeality has traditionally been associated with the natural sciences. The publication, in the 1990s, of groundbreaking books such as Judith Butler’s Gender Trouble (1990), Elizabeth Grosz’s Volatile Bodies (1994) and Rosi Braidotti’s Nomadic Subjects (1994) undoubtedly helped redress this imbalance and generated, in turn, a growing interest in the re-thinking of the body across disciplines in the humanities and social sciences. These theorists located the material body in relation to its socio-political context and addressed questions about sexuality, gender and race while highlighting the potential of bodies to challenge or subvert the very social, cultural and political discourses that shape them into ideal form. This shift in focus has also been observed in the field of Catalan Studies, where scholars are increasingly attending to questions of gender and national identity, corporeality and embodiment, particularly with regard to literature and film. Despite this relatively recent upsurge in this area of study, scholarly investigation of bodily matters in Catalan artistic expression remains very much in its infancy.
Images of the body, performance, ritual and dance have been – and remain – core elements and activities in the production of visual and popular festive culture in Catalonia. Such corporeal utterances, iterations and figurations have also played a symbolic role in processes of identity formation. The solemn depictions of the Christ in Majesty in Romanesque art or the grotesque bodies carved in many of the capitols of medieval monasteries might evince the social hierarchies and theological concerns of the times yet they are also inextricably bound to a period in history when the Catalan nation was being forged. In the modern era, representations of the female body by nineteenth-century Modernista artists conveyed ideas about modernity, industrialisation and progress, whereas the more normative Noucentistes would later ascribe to the female nude a set of classical, civic and urban values. With the advent of the avant-garde movements, surrealism and its endless manipulation and fragmentation of the body, or the move towards abstraction and conceptual art, the representation of corporeality in art became less specific, and more ‘implied’. From the mid-1960s Catalan visual and performance artists have favoured less defined, unshapely or open-ended forms of expression. These have often been read as symptomatic of a fraying in dominant models of understanding identity, society and culture. Recent secessionist movements in Catalonia caused by a combination of historical grievances and a profound economic crisis will no doubt provoke further social, political and cultural realignments.
This three-day interdisciplinary conference seeks to foster dialogue between artists, curators, art critics, researchers and audiences about questions of embodiment, performance and body-representation across centuries of Catalan visual and performance art.
Proposals are sought for 20 minutes papers. Possible topics may include (but are not limited to) the following:
• Issues of representation • Body theory • Body and identity
• Embodiment • Gender and sexuality • Absence and presence • Ritual
• Phenomenology • Taboo • Performance and action art • Body limits
• Transient bodies • Monstrousness and the grotesque • Violence
• Sensuous and sentient bodies • Body and space
Please send 200-word abstracts in English or in Catalan, a short biographical note (max. 100 words) indicating your name, affiliation and all relevant contact information to Eva Bru-Domínguez at firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday 31 May 2013. Notification of acceptance of proposals will be communicated by mid-June.