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Prof. Dr. Monica Juneja


Beyond national frames – exploring a connected art history of Europe and Asia (Part 2: Modernism as a global process)

This course, conceptualized in two parts, is addressed to students of both European and Asian art history. How can art history be made global? The recent years have seen different approaches to this problem. The course attempts to reframe the art history of Europe and Asia by transcending the nationalist frameworks which have governed teaching and research in art history in the West as well as in the young nation states of Asia. It introduces a notion of contact zones to undercut the study of closed units and fixed boundaries which have prevented us from understanding the dynamics and the decisive role of encounter, flows and entanglement between regions and cultures. These cross-cultural processes was examined closely to ask how they have been constitutive for local artistic practices and traditions.

Part 2 of this lecture course (begun in summer semester 2009, see above) engages with historiographic trends which construct modernism as a quintessentially European preserve that subsequently spread to the rest of the world. Following from such a view, non-European experiments with the modern have often ended up being dismissed as "derivative" of particular Euro-American styles and movements. The course intends to break away from a model of centre and periphery within which much of art historical discourse on modernism is embedded and in its place suggest a framework which would examine modernist movements in the arts as emerging from multiple locations across the globe, both in Europe and beyond its frontiers. To what extent did modernist art practices make up a transcultural field in which common issues, perceived as universal, came to be entangled with local particularities? How constitutive were these relationships for visual culture and art markets of a Western avant-garde that still monopolise our notions of value and meaning? And in what ways did art movements of the so-called ‘periphery’, translate idioms that travelled to and fro between several centres in Asia and Europe so as to generate local styles and meanings no longer defined exclusively by the idea of a "pure" indigenous tradition? The lecture course revolved around case studies of modernism from Western Europe and Asia. It raised larger questions as to whether a global understanding of modernism calls for rethinking its chronological boundaries and hierarchies.

Wednesdays, 9 to 11am, IEK HS



Gender as a Category of Global Art and Art History
(co-taught with Prof. Dr. Melanie Trede)

This graduate seminar focuses on two workshops organised within the framework of the Cluster of Excellence Asia and Europe in a Global Context:
"Rethinking the Religious Body" (October 5-6, 2009 / IWH) and
"Gender and Body in the Contemporary Arts"(December 15-17, 2009 / DAI & IWH). For further details on the two workshops, please refer to:

The first workshop centers on the pivotal importance of religion in shaping and conceiving of bodies and sexualities. It is to be asked how the fe/male body carries and/or escapes the burden of representing the family/community/nation. Aspects of purity, chastity, and cleansing, but also of veiling and wrapping bodies and of diverging ideas of salvation of wo/man are some of the aspects dealt with.

The second workshop is designed to emphasize the aspect of ‘practices’ within the framework of gender and art. Art historians with rich curatorial expertise and active artists are invited so as to explore the various approaches and experiences of curators in organizing exhibitions as well as artists producing, advertising and selling works involving gender issues and/or concerns relating to the body. At the same time, an exhibition is planned that will open December 15th with well-known artists mostly from Asia who address these issues. The broad regional backgrounds of the invitees shall foster a transcultural discussion highlighting the diverging or converging issues at stake. Since international exhibitions of contemporary arts in the guise of art biennials are abundant in Asian countries since the Kwangju Biennial opened in 1995, Asian perspectives on gender aspects in the arts become all the more pertinent to a transcultural debate.
At a broader level, we will address the issue of the usefulness of gender as a category with which to critique the universalizing structures of modernism. Does gender constitute a category that is transcultural in nature or is it in turn intersected by cultural difference? What are the parallels that studies from Asia furnish with the ways in which feminist art history in the West mounted a critique of the gendered premises of modernism, where do these parallels intersect, where do they end? Through an engagement with the living centrality of religion in shaping modern notions of gender and the translation of gendered bodies into artistic form, it is hoped to question the overwhelming equation postulated between modernist art and a secular vision of the world.

In the seminar, we will prepare for the talks by the invited scholars, curators and artists in the field through discussing their work – a discussion which will be carried through and after the workshops.

Thursdays, fortnightly, 11am to 1pm, KJC 212

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Dr.-Ing. Mag. Michael Falser


The Destruction of Art – The Art of Destruction. Iconoclasm in the 20th and 21st Centuries

In a conventional perspective, the term “iconoclasm” is associated with the Byzantine Iconoclastic Controversy of the 8th and 9th centuries, the Reformation of the 16th century or the French Revolution. This course intends to widen the semantic field of the term “iconoclasm” from its European moorings to encompass modern, contemporary and especially globalized times. It focuses not only on acts of destruction stemming from opposition to religious images and works of art, but also on the workings of such acts on institutions, doctrines, viewing patterns and cultural practices. Through short presentations of the students, this course will discuss and compare case studies of politically motivated iconoclasm (dictatorships, Cold War and its overcoming after the Fall of the Berlin Wall, warfare against objects and sites assigned the status of cultural heritage like Dresden, Hiroshima, Mostar Bridge, Dubrovnik etc.), iconoclasm in modern art (Futurism, Actionism, Happenings etc.), performative terrorism (World Trade Center, Bamiyan Buddhas) and mass-media in the globalized age of the internet (Mohammed Cartoons etc.).

The Proseminar was summed up with a poster presentation during the Jour fixe by Research Area D: "Conserving and Destroying Heritage – a Transcultural Perspective of Image-Breaking" (download poster of the event)

The poster presentation of the students included:

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Franziska Koch

Preparation of the lecture-cum-seminar series "Multi-centred Modernisms. Reconfiguring Asian Art of the 20th and 20th Centuries" for the following winter term.

See for more details of the whole lecture series:

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