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D13 Multi-Centred Modernisms (project completed)

Multi-Centred Modernisms – Reconfiguring Asian Art of the Twentieth and Twenty First Centuries

Coordination: Monica Juneja, Franziska Koch


Multi-Centred Modernisms – Reconfiguring Asian Art of the Twentieth and Twenty First Centuries

Its increasing resonance in the Western world notwithstanding, most Asian art remains caught in the paradox of having to participate in a universal notion of the modern, while attempting to “catch up” in an asymmetrical game of progress. Discussions of modern Asian art have been by and large mired in early historiographic constructions of modernity as a European preserve, while visual culture emanating from beyond the frontiers of Europe was dismissed as “derivative” of particular Euro-American styles and movements. This lecture series, held in the summer term of 2010, brought forth fresh discussions on visual practices that have their roots in multiple locations in Europe and Asia and attempt to create visions of the modern through the engagement of local particularity with the universal – and in the process de-centre that universal.

Read more about the lecture series.

The series was concluded on July 19th 2010 by the public panel discussion Institutions, Markets, Publics – contemporary art practice in Asia and Europe that took place at the Deutsch-Amerikanisches Institut (DAI) Heidelberg, beginning 8 pm. It questioned the role of institutions that make up an expanding global public sphere for the arts – such as the art market, art collections, transnational networks of artists, as well as international exhibitions. Five international experts and practitioners from these fields engaged with a number of issues germinal to our understanding of modernism and which make up its discursive field.  For example, how is our understanding of modernist and avant-garde art practices reconfigured in the light of viewing them as emanating from networks of multiple centres spread across the globe – covering New Delhi, Mumbai, Shanghai or Tokyo, in addition to Paris, Berlin or New York? In what ways have emerging global institutional networks forged with local practices to destabilise existing certitudes and canonical values of modernist discourse?

Some of the lectures are published in the Cluster´s e-journal.

Read more about the panel discussion

The lecture series was linked to a seminar co-taught by Prof. Christiane Brosius (Visual and Media Anthropology), Prof. Monica Juneja (Global Art History) and Prof. Melanie Trede (Japanese Art Histories), which deepened the discussion on the topics and gave students the opportunity to engage in dialogue with the invited speakers and course coordinators.  

Read more about the seminar

Picture: "The Hulk" (Diamond Series) by the artist Gade, Lhasa, Tibet, 2008. Mixed media on canvas, 147 x 117 cm.  

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